Jennifer Richmond, an International Relations Specialist, supports liberalism and universal values and believes that we are at our best when protecting individual rights and freedoms. She worked in international relations for over 20 years, focusing on global geopolitics, intelligence, and East Asian policy, before turning her attention and cross-cultural skills towards the most polarizing issues within the United States and beyond. She is dedicated to learning how to communicate on difficult and polarizing issues, in good faith, to develop citizens (and herself) in building a strong and diverse community for democracy to thrive. Jen and co-author W.F. Twyman, Jr. have recently released their book – Letters in Black & White: A New Correspondence on Race in America.
What is liberalism to you?
Liberalism, at its heart, is social justice. When we center the individual and honor pluralism as the bedrock of our society, our differences become something to embrace rather than divide. It is only in seeing ourselves in “the other” that we can truly build a vibrant and diverse democracy.
Who are you?
My life changed when my family moved to Burma, now called Myanmar, when I was 10. It was there that I received my first Russian bear hug at the height of the Cold War. Since my experiences living in Myanmar and later, Indonesia, Thailand, and China I became determined to find ways to connect across cultures. I received my B.A. in Asian Cultures from Trinity University, my M.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and did my doctoral studies in International Relations at the University of Texas at Austin. I speak Mandarin, Chinese (or at least I used to… it is a bit rusty) and have taught Chinese Politics at Trinity University and was the China Director and Vice President at the geopolitical firm, Stratfor.
When not corresponding with my co-author and forever pen-pal, W.F. Tywman, Jr. (aka Wink), I love to travel (I recently checked off my bucket-list item of swimming with whale sharks in Mexico) and enjoy spending time with my family (especially in Alaska) and my faithful (pain-in-the-ass) pug, the dude. I frequently daydream of the day I can start my Pug & Pony Pub.
What do you do?
After completing our book, Letters in Black and White, Wink and I continue to correspond. Our next project is turning our book into a series of children’s books that underline our commonalities despite our differences. We hope that these books serve as a counterweight to the seemingly ubiquitous message that we are always and only a product of our race and group identity.
With this passion, I have also committed myself to stewarding ILV into a robust organization that celebrates and empowers individuals to collaborate and create vibrant communities
Favorite book: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Favorite animal: pugs and ponies (duh), although a recent online test tells me my spirit animal is the wolf, and I’m cool with that.
Favorite color: camo
Favorite song: Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw and Thunderstruck by AC/DC. The artist I’m currently enjoying the most is Bailey Zimmerman.
Favorite food: Indian (Thai and Vietnamese come in as close seconds)
Favorite place to visit: Vietnam
ILV Selected Publications
Letters in Black and White: A New Correspondence on Race in America, Pitchstone Publishing, 2023
The Golden Age of Slogans, Areo Magazine, April 6, 2021
Nothing to Talk About: Affinity in the Age of Diversity, Areo Magazine, November 9, 2020
Diversity Drop-Out Areo Magazine, April 24, 2019
Trust: Lessons From My Brazilian Driver Modern Diplomacy, November 11, 2018
Fear, Factions & Fringes Modern Diplomacy, August 21, 2018.
Multicultural Mecca Modern Diplomacy, August 9, 2018
China and the End of the Deng Dynasty Stratfor, April 19, 2011
China’s Challenge Stratfor, March 9, 2010
Internal Divisions and the Chinese Stimulus Plan Stratfor, February 23, 2009
Energy Consumption in China: Regional and Global Implications for the Future Anuario Asia Pacifico (Translated into Spanish), 2010, Edicion 2011
Beijing’s Geopolitical Toll Heartland: Eurasian Review of Geopolitics, December 2012
Resettlement Initiatives and Implementations Journal of the Southwest Conference on Asian Studies, Vol. 5 (Spring 2005): 110-128
Promises, Prospects & Prognostications for Civil Society in Burma LBJ Journal of Public Affairs, Spring 2007.
*You can find more from Jen at Truth in Between.