Diplomacy in the Boxing Ring
Golden Gate University Professor Jay Gonzalez is Chair of the Department of Public Administration, who has provided consulting to governments, nonprofits, corporations, and the military over his 18-year career. He also describes himself as a product of the Philippine ROTC system established by the U.S Army.
Recently, Dr. Gonzalez gave a presentation called “Philippines: Country Briefing” to officers of the U.S. Army’s 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington, who will be deploying for Pacific Pathways, which are joint military exercises between the United States and Asia-Pacific allies.
Through the Naval Postgraduate School’s Leadership and Sustained Peace Program, he teaches U.S. armed forces personnel how to better relate with their Filipino military and civilian counterparts. His work helps operational and strategic effectiveness, reduces miscommunication, and fosters cross-cultural understanding.
A boxing lesson is also part of the training. Dr. Gonzalez says: “Boxing is big in the Philippines and I learned my boxing from there. Since my country brief is about the Philippines I usually provide them with a couple of boxing combinations: jab, straight, uppercut, and overhand right! It makes for better bonding between our troops and their Philippine counterparts.”
Other outside-the-ring topics he discussed were the ups-and-downs of U.S.-Philippines relations (and whether President Trump and Philippine President Duterte will be able to work together); Philippine security assessment including communist and Muslim insurgencies; terrorist extremist groups; and Philippine culture, history, religion, politics, geography.
Dr. Gonzalez says: “You cannot talk about Public administration without knowing about national defense, foreign relations, politics, and cross-cultural communication. GGU has an Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) program with a Law Enforcement and Security concentration. ‘Security’ means national security and helping our Asian-Pacific allies to go after terrorist networks before they get to the United States. In the EMPA, we have faculty members and students (a lot!) who are military veterans. Discussing military and veterans’ issues is an important part of our classroom experience.”
Dr. Gonzalez has written extensively on Philippine boxing and diplomacy, soft power diplomacy or public diplomacy, including his book From Pancho to Pacquiao: Philippine Boxing in and Out of the Ring.