Heard on the Hill

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s Syllabus: the Wrestling Match Over Foreign Policy

What life after Congress looks like for Florida Republican

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., is heading to teach after Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Students at Miami University have some expertise coming their way next semester: retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s legislative accomplishments and her husband Dexter’s background as a decorated Vietnam veteran.

They are teaching a course on Congress and American Foreign Policy during the spring semester at University of Miami, the school announced Monday.

The congresswoman is already getting some practice. She spoke at Georgetown University last week and addressed students in former Rep. Joe Heck’s class at Harvard’s Kennedy School Monday night.

She spoke to Roll Call after the Harvard course.

Q: Are there any specifics of the course at Miami that really attracted you to teaching it?

A: Each of my alma maters hold a special place in my heart. I was fortunate to receive my doctoral degree from the University of Miami and, as a proud ’Cane, this incredible institution has been an integral part of my life. I am honored to have been selected as a Distinguished Presidential Fellow and be able to teach at UM along with my husband, Dexter Lehtinen, a decorated Vietnam veteran, scholar, and UM alumnus as well.

It has been a great honor to serve our diverse community for over three decades and I am looking forward to sharing many of the lessons learned on this journey with our future students. Dexter and I designed the course because the legislative and executive branches of our government have wrestled over control of foreign policy since our nation’s founding.

The judicial branch has been knocking on both doors for control, as well. We look forward to bringing up real world problems in foreign policy with the students and discussing the interplay of these three branches on the formation of our foreign policy.

Q: What is one thing you hope your students will take away from it?

A: We hope that the students will come away with a better understanding of all the factors at play when it comes to formulating America’s role in the world. Special attention will be paid to current political decision-making after the Cold War, such as the Iran nuclear deal, the authorization to commit our armed forces and foreign aid.

Q: Have you written your syllabus yet?

A: Yes, the entire course syllabus has been written by Dexter and me and has been approved by the university.

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