Skip to Content (Press Enter)

University Hosts Royce International Symposium to Engage Community in Discussions About US Foreign Policy

Share This:

After serving in the military for three years, Omid Farzan returned to higher education with a newfound interest in international affairs. 

While pursuing his graduate degree in political science at Cal State Fullerton, Farzan turned that interest into academic research that examines China’s impact on the Middle East. He worked alongside Alexei Shevchenko, professor of political science, who specializes in American foreign policy and Russian and Chinese foreign policy. 

“What really motivated me to conduct research was my time in the army,” said Farzan. 

His study looks at how the Belt and Road Initiative — a China-led global infrastructure project that launched in 2013 — has impacted human development in seven countries, including Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. 

Farzan had the opportunity to present this research to an audience of faculty, alumni, students and research experts at the university’s annual Royce International Symposium on March 8 at the Richard Nixon Library & Museum. 

“My goal is to become a university professor and teach political science, so conducting and presenting this research is helping me toward that goal,” added Farzan, who was recognized with a student research award at the symposium. 

Ed Royce and Melanie Castillo
Former U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, left, with Melanie Castillo, graduate student researcher

He was joined by fellow CSUF students and research award recipients, Melanie Castillo, who presented her research on “China’s Institutional Stability and The Impact On Its Economy,” and Oluwatosin Emmanuel Folowosele, who presented his research on “The Influence of Chinese Authoritarianism and American Democracy on African Economies and Governance Structures.” 

Former U.S. Rep. Ed Royce delivered the event’s keynote address, sharing his expertise on “American Foreign Policy in a Destabilized World: China, Russia, Africa and Iran.” The purpose of the Royce International Symposium is to advance research whilst engaging the campus and Orange County community in discussions about international policy and complex global issues. 

Royce, a CSUF alumnus, provided insights into such important issues as the current affairs between Russia and the United States, the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, how foreign policy will impact the United States’ 2024 presidential election and the importance of supporting democratic governments around the world. 

“From an academic perspective, it’s important to think about the old adage going back to early history, the struggle between democratic societies like Athens and totalitarian ones like Sparta,” said Royce ’77 (B.A. business administration-accounting, finance).

The event also featured foreign policy and political science experts from universities, the U.S. Marine Corps and Washington D.C.-based organizations, who shared their knowledge on the challenges surrounding China and Russia’s engagement with Africa and their Triangular Alliance with Iran. 

Ed Royce
CSUF alumnus and former U.S. Rep. Ed Royce

During his career, Royce represented California’s 39th Congressional District from 1993 to 2019 and served Orange County for more than 25 years. He also served as Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee from 2013-19. The foreign policy, national security and international business expert currently serves as a policy director at Brownstein, a lobbying and law firm. 

The symposium was organized by CSUF’s Department of Political Science. Sponsors and partners included: Brownstein, Richard Nixon Foundation, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Kyle House Group, CSUF’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, CSUF’s College of Business and Economics, OC Forum, The Orange County Register, and the World Affairs Council-Orange County.

Taylor Arrey