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Robertson School of Government Newsletter – July 2020

In this issue:

  • Findings with Dr. Mary Manjikian: Trust and the Presidency Intel Ethics Conference
  • Dean’s Corner
  • More from RSG Social Media
  • Regent University Reopening Plan Receives High Marks from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
  • Alumni Highlight: Ann Buwalda
  • Dr. Mary Manjikian Receives the Dr. Wolfgang Pindur Award for Distinguished Service in Academia and Practice


Featured Media of the Month

Findings with Dr. Mary Manjikian: Trust and the Presidency Intel Ethics Conference

We know that President Trump doesn’t trust the intelligence community and the intelligence community doesn’t trust President Trump, but what IS trust and why does it matter? In this talk, Dr. Mary Manjikian looks at: generalized trust; particularized trust; trust as competence and trust as strategic interaction. These concepts help us to understand the obstacles which the intelligence community faces in gaining and keeping the president’s trust. You can watch this video here!

Dean’s Corner

Dear friends,

It is a privilege to continue to serve in the Dean’s role of the Robertson School of Government going into my third year. But it is also an awesome responsibility. Our goal is to train leaders with a Christian worldview, a servant heart, and an ethical approach to go out and change the world.

Changing the world may seem a far-fetched goal, but it shouldn’t in the wake of what we have been seeing happen. People are changing our world daily. City councils, legislators, governors, and others are responding to the harsh reality of uprisings across America, often acquiescing to the rhetoric and demands that they hear, afraid to hold to the rule of law.

Hear in RSG, we believe that winning isn’t winning if it comes at a cost of integrity and ethics. As we enter a new academic year, we plan to build new degrees in international development and campaign strategy that will incorporate ethical approaches into two areas often bereft of Christian values. We believe our graduates can also impact city councils up to presidents, but they will do so using methods that foster ethical practices.

As we do these things, we aim to focus greater effort on questions of human freedom and dignity, both at home and around the world. Of course, we will do this while still taking on the

current issue of pandemic safety through social distancing and proper use of virus mitigation strategies. Our students will return, both on campus and online, and we will engage each one as a valued individual who has incredible worth, whom we will help to avoid exposure to COVID-19 while instead exposing them to the best in Christian training in government.


Stephen D. Perry, Ph.D.

Interim Dean and Professor

More from RSG Social Media

Set Point: Pilgrim Road Excavation

Blind Politics with Dr. Nolte: How Should We Think About Experts

Blind Politics with Dr. Nolte: A Zone of Peace Grand Strategy for the United States

Blind Politics with Dr. Nolte: China Strategy after Coronavirus with Professor Josh Hastey

Recent Events:

Regent University Reopening Plan Receives High Marks from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

Regent University received certification from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) for Regent’s Fall 2020 reopening plan, Regent Ready: COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.

All colleges and universities in Virginia were required to submit thorough documentation of reopening plans to SCHEV by July 6, 2020. SCHEV completed its review and determined that Regent’s plan “contains the 26 components required to be addressed by Virginia’s ‘Higher Education Reopening Guidance,’ and therefore, is complete and in compliance with the Commonwealth’s expectations.”

“We are thrilled to open our doors this fall and to safely educate our students,” said Regent University Founder, Chancellor & CEO, Dr. M. G. “Pat” Robertson. “This excellent feedback from SCHEV confirms that Regent is leading the way among institutions of higher education.”

SCHEV staff members thanked Regent for its prompt and thorough attention to state directives, offering a note of congratulations for this important achievement and wishing Regent all the best for its upcoming fall semester.

“We praise and thank the LORD for this great blessing for our university,” said Regent University Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño. “Together, we are focused on creating an environment in which we can safely educate our students to be Christian leaders to change the world.”

To learn more about Regent’s state-of-the-art reopening plan, visit

Alumni Highlight

Human Rights Activist and Immigration Attorney Ann Buwalda Named 2020 Alumnus of the Year

When it comes to taking down giants, Ann Buwalda has quite a few tools in her belt.

Regent’s 2020 Alumnus of the Year is a triple-degree holder from Regent University, earning her Juris Doctor (LAW ‘90) and completing two master’s degrees the following year — one in public policy and the other in international cross-cultural communication. But Buwalda will be the first to tell you that knowledge is secondary to an even greater tool: faith.

“Knowledge alone, as great as it is to have achieved and conquered your textbooks and term papers, does not give you the courage to conquer your giant,” she shares. “Prayer and relationship with God give you the faith that you need to conquer your giant.”

Buwalda has been slaying “giants” since 1991 as executive director of Jubilee Campaign USA, a nonprofit that focuses on international religious freedom and advocating for the release of prisoners of conscience; aiding in the resettlement of refugees seeking asylum; and combatting human trafficking — including protecting vulnerable women and children and providing support to victims.

Buwalda is also a managing attorney and founder of Just Law International PC, a Fairfax, Virginia-based firm, handling all aspects of immigration law, including asylum and refugee cases.

The daughter of immigrant parents from the Netherlands, Buwalda’s interest in law began at nine years old — when she had to help interpret for her parents with their American lawyer who was settling her grandfather’s estate in Holland after he passed away.

But her calling to seek justice for the oppressed came years later in her final year at Regent.

“I read in the Book of Jeremiah how Ebed- Melech intervened to rescue Jeremiah from a dungeon where he was kept imprisoned by a wicked king and other government officials for exercising his religious freedom,” explains Buwalda. “I knew then that being an Ebed-Melech for the persecuted church was God’s call on my life.”

An Ebed-Melech for people like Ayub Masih, a Pakistani Christian accused of blasphemy by an Islamist mob, jailed and sentenced to death.

For five years, Buwalda worked on Masih’s behalf, advocating for his release with the U.S. Department of State, Pakistan government leaders, and petitioning the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Eventually, her efforts succeeded and he was acquitted. Buwalda then went on to coordinate with the U.S. Department of State and Homeland Security to help Masih successfully immigrate to America, where today he is a U.S. citizen, happily married with a wife and children, and most importantly — free.

Buwalda’s dedication to the human rights field, along with her outstanding and prestigious qualifications, earned her the recognition of Alumnus of the Year — an award established in 2004 by Regent’s Office of Alumni Relations to recognize individuals who have gained elite distinction by their accomplishments and brought positive change to the world.

“It is definitely amazing to be selected amongst such prestigious alums,” said Buwalda. I use the knowledge I gained at Regent every single day.”

In her address to the Class of 2020, Buwalda encouraged graduates that if they take the perspective of Joshua and Caleb — the two spies who believed that with God’s help they could take the Promised Land in spite of the giants — they will be more than conquerors.

“Understand this: God has a plan for your life, but you’ll never fulfill it until you come into agreement with His Word. God uses imperfect people, and that makes us realize that He alone is our source, our strength, our strategy, and the secret to our success,” said Buwalda.

To learn more about Buwalda’s advocacy work with ethnic and religious minorities around the world, visit

Faculty Highlight: Dr. Mary Manjikian

Dr. Mary Manjikian Receives the Dr. Wolfgang Pindur Award for Distinguished Service in Academia and Practice

Dr. Mary Manjikian was recognized for a distinguished academic career, which continues through today. She was awarded the Dr. Wolfgang Pindur Award for Distinguished Service in Academia and Practice by the Hampton Roads Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration, an award which recognizes outstanding service in the area of public administration education. She was nominated by RSG’s own Dr. Gary Roberts, who says “Dr. Manjikian is an exemplary faculty member in every aspect of her duties, a respected, influential and productive scholar, a gifted teacher, a conscientious administrator, and manifests an exemplary level of service to RSG, Regent University and the greater community. Even more importantly, she is a woman of Godly character and excellence and a superb colleague.” Dr. Manjikian

She has published five scholarly books on topics such as cyber-security and international affairs, written five book chapters, and published seven scholarly articles. Dr. Manjikian is a scholar-practitioner, with distinguished public service supporting her scholarly pursuits, including service as a Foreign Service Officer in Russia and Bulgaria, and as the Director of the International Programs for the Center for Excellence in Education. Her influence as a scholar and her quality as a faculty member is validated by her receipt of prestigious external awards and positions including the Regent’s Fellowship at the University of Michigan, Short Term Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Nagel Institute Professional Development Program on Religion in China, and a Fulbright Research Scholar award at the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University, Great Britain.

Her distinguished and lengthy service seeking to bridge the gap between academia and practice, her commitment to democratic ideals, and her passion for seeking to develop and sustain high-levels of responsive public service are to be commended.