The democratic imperative for all voices to be heard is at risk.

Smart diplomacy has the potential to significantly improve foreign relations, leveraging technology and independence in order to benefit from an array of stakeholders throughout society. However, the COVID-19 global pandemic has slowed many positive trends, reverting toward a steep imbalance between those who have a voice and those whose voices were weakened in 2020.
Smart diplomacy has the potential to significantly improve foreign relations, leveraging technology and independence in order to benefit from an array of stakeholders throughout society. However, the COVID-19 global pandemic has slowed many positive trends, reverting toward a steep imbalance between those who have a voice and those whose voices were weakened in 2020.
Credit: Charles Etoroma

Smart diplomacy has the potential to significantly improve foreign relations, leveraging technology and independence in order to benefit from an array of stakeholders throughout society. …


Spanish food is the best in the world. I came to this conclusion through visits to each of these countries, and living in two of them. Each cuisine is delicious, but Spanish food has the right level of sophistication, incredible diversity among its unique regions.
Spanish food is the best in the world. I came to this conclusion through visits to each of these countries, and living in two of them. Each cuisine is delicious, but Spanish food has the right level of sophistication, incredible diversity among its unique regions.
Cultura / Brett Stevens / Riser / Getty Images

Spain has the best food in the world. Here’s why.

As we all await the end of COVID with latent exuberance and a huge pent-up sigh of relief, travel is near the top of the post-COVID to-do list for most people. Is that you? Do you like food? And are you considering Europe as a destination in the near or even distant future? Then this is for you!

A quick personal note: While I tend to write on serious topics such as leadership, business, and international affairs, my fiancé helped me realize I need to balance those with an occasional…


Reset your life to thrive post-COVID. Take 15 minutes to answer 6 questions that will inspire you to reset how you see your life today, and how you approach your future. Put on new lenses to see with 2020 vision.
Reset your life to thrive post-COVID. Take 15 minutes to answer 6 questions that will inspire you to reset how you see your life today, and how you approach your future. Put on new lenses to see with 2020 vision.
“Hope in sight” by IAPB/VISION 2020 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This past year, I got engaged. That evening, while celebrating with my fiancé’s family and feeling on top of the world, we began hearing reports that airports and borders would soon be closed due to the coronavirus. The next day, we each flew to our respective homes on different continents. We didn’t see each other for the next 7 months.

Piling upon other personal setbacks this past year, which included finding myself underemployed, distance from my future wife made much of 2020 feel like a desert — dry, fruitless, and with no end in sight. Perhaps yours felt the same.


Following up on the first post, this applies the 7-part framework to the final 2020 College Football Playoff rankings. Further reasons and passionate appeals are given for taking this route, as well as addressing the recent report recommending the elite teams leave the NCAA. Finally, the 8-team playoff we could have had is revealed and celebrated.
Following up on the first post, this applies the 7-part framework to the final 2020 College Football Playoff rankings. Further reasons and passionate appeals are given for taking this route, as well as addressing the recent report recommending the elite teams leave the NCAA. Finally, the 8-team playoff we could have had is revealed and celebrated.

I recently wrote a piece citing why the FBS college football playoff needs to be changed, and proposed a new system that benefits everyone (except perhaps SEC teams not named Alabama).

With the release of final playoff rankings on Sunday, it has become abundantly clear that change is necessary for the good of the game, and for everyone who loves college football.

Don’t take my word for it. Ask ESPN sports writers Bill Connelly and Andrea Adelson, ESPN lead Gameday analyst Kirk Herbstreit, or many others who have begun to boldly share their opinions. Each has held their tongue until…


The continued story of my 2020 experience, which involved working any job I could find and moving back in with my parents. Life and leadership lessons abound.
The continued story of my 2020 experience, which involved working any job I could find and moving back in with my parents. Life and leadership lessons abound.
Jenny Sturm, www.freepik.com/photos

(Begin with Part I here)

Doing the Impossible: Counting people in a year of perpetual transition

While working with the latter company, I took on additional work with the Census, racking up hours to reach my income goal before moving on. Overall, the experience was as expected, and again people were nicer than I thought they would be, with a few “don’t bother me” or “I don’t want to tell the government anything” exceptions. In the most heated moments, I was able to practice my newfound mindset, receiving these as opportunities to practice grace.

Assigned to a mix of neighborhoods that ranged from wealthy suburban to economically challenged, I experienced a…


The continued story of my 2020 experience, which involved working any job I could find and moving back in with my parents. Life and leadership lessons abound.
The continued story of my 2020 experience, which involved working any job I could find and moving back in with my parents. Life and leadership lessons abound.
Jenny Sturm, www.freepik.com/photos

After graduating from two Master’s programs, which I thought would re-define my career, I spent the first half of 2019 hunting for a job. When I did not find the type of work I was seeking with an organization I liked, I traveled a bit over the summer and then volunteered to serve in hurricane relief efforts. Finally, I would succumb to a gut-twisting realization: I needed to move in with my parents until I get this career thing figured out. Of course, that is the last thing any adult with an ultra-independent western mindset wants to admit. …


Addressing the debate about the College Football Playoff, this analyzes possible playoff systems and identifies the ideal path that continues to reward the best teams while also providing greater equality of representation and therefore opportunity.
Addressing the debate about the College Football Playoff, this analyzes possible playoff systems and identifies the ideal path that continues to reward the best teams while also providing greater equality of representation and therefore opportunity.
Photo by John Torcasio on Unsplash

“Tonight’s first ever quarterfinal matchup features BYU playing at Notre Dame, and in tomorrow’s early game we’ll see Cincinnati play at Ohio State. I can feel the energy pumping through my veins. This is college football, the passion of the game, in which every team has a real shot. Finally, we got it right!”

I imagine Kirk Herbstreit proclaiming this from the bottom of his heart, standing in the announcer’s booth at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, just before kickoff on a Friday evening.

While the playoff system has been a blessing to college football, it still leaves us…


A review and analysis of how current dynamics are affecting the balance of power between local, state, and federal governments. A comparison is made among the United States, Germany, and Brazil.
A review and analysis of how current dynamics are affecting the balance of power between local, state, and federal governments. A comparison is made among the United States, Germany, and Brazil.
Credit: Prathap Ravishankar

Earthquakes don’t just occur in the ground beneath us. They can emerge unexpectedly in our personal lives, communities, or society. On a grand scale, they can threaten the most critical sectors that make a society. In today’s dynamic and turbulent times, we feel these earthquakes. Personally. Nationally. Globally. Today, I would like to focus on the Government sector. Speaking of the U.S., J. Edwin Benton states,

“Considerable pressure continues to build up at the fault lines of governance inherent in the country’s unique federal form of government.”

Many forces have contributed to this pressure, affecting us personally while also tugging…


The choice between Biden and another four years of Trump was not as clear as either side made it out to be. The importance of rational analysis is discussed. This is followed by a particular lens for this election, asking whether Trump’s “gorilla”-like personality and leaderships style is preferable to the uncertainty of whether Biden’s diplomatic approach can hold up to global challenges and the “alligators” within his own party, based on his age and generally softer personality.
The choice between Biden and another four years of Trump was not as clear as either side made it out to be. The importance of rational analysis is discussed. This is followed by a particular lens for this election, asking whether Trump’s “gorilla”-like personality and leaderships style is preferable to the uncertainty of whether Biden’s diplomatic approach can hold up to global challenges and the “alligators” within his own party, based on his age and generally softer personality.
Credit: Alamy Stock Photo, FreeImages.com / Bob Driscoll

“Who would win in a fight?” That’s the first thing google displayed when I searched for “alligators and gorillas”. Though not addressing this intriguing question (or its answers), I do promise to bring today’s topic to a close with vivid mental imagery that captures the essence of our 2020 decision.

As an election guide on voting for executive office, perhaps I should have published this before November 3rd. Alas, while there is no more opportunity to influence voter choices this year, I hope this serves to:


A brief background of PESCO’s creation, followed by an analysis of its challenges and possible future. Finally, the best path is described, and how PESCO and European leaders can forge that path ahead.
A brief background of PESCO’s creation, followed by an analysis of its challenges and possible future. Finally, the best path is described, and how PESCO and European leaders can forge that path ahead.
Photo Credit: http://gip.ge/european-defense-union-edu-and-eastern-neighborhood

PESCO is an exciting new initiative for Europe, though it is born into an already complex European security and defense landscape. The defense organization’s success or failure will rest on the ability of its internal and external leaders to navigate structural and cultural choices, as much as on its strategic choices.

Background

In November, 2017, 23 European Union members states formed the Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO. The European Council approved it shortly thereafter. …

Mike Weppler

Trying to live a life worth imitating. Adventurer. Passion for developing leaders and elevating families, organizations, and the discourse of US/Global affairs

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