Lectureship and Scholarships


The Aspinall Lectureship in History and Political Science has developed into a significant competition with numerous applicants recognized as national authorities in their fields.

It is with pleasure that the Foundation, with Colorado Mesa University, is able to sponsor a free lecture to the public.

2019 Aspinall Lecturer

Dr. Cook


Dr. Martin L. Cook has a Ph.D. in philosophy and religion from the University of Chicago.  He has more than 40 years of teaching experience at all levels – from undergraduates to senior military officers.  His career culminated in his position as Admiral Stockdale Professor of Professional Military Ethics at the United States Naval War College.  He has also taught at the US Army War College, the US Air Force Academy, The College of William and Mary, Santa Clara University, and several other institutions.

Dr. Cook’s passions are the study of religion, ethics and philosophy, and ethics and international and military affairs.  He is especially adept at presenting these subjects in an engaging way to non-specialists – having taught senior military officers such topics for much of his career.  He has published widely on such subjects, and recently left his position as co-editor of The Journal of Military Ethics – the premier international journal in the field.  He has been a widely sought-after speaker, and has addressed audiences in Norway, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, the UK, Serbia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ecuador, Greece, France, Ghana and Colombia, as well as across the United States.  Dr. Cook recently retired from the US government and volunteered in Fall of 2017, teaching at Ashesi University in Ghana.

2019 Lecture

The Changing Shape of the International System

How the world is divided and organized is the result of human decisions and creation.  After the wars of religion following the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century, Europe created the Westphalian sovereign states, hoping that that form of organization would put an end to war.  Obviously, it did not, but as a result of colonialism, that Westphalian state system was imprinted across the globe.  After both World War I and World War II, new efforts were made to build a superstructure of institutions and international law above the sovereign state with the creation of the League of Nations and then the United Nations.  But in addition to the UN, Europe led by the United States created the Breton Woods financial institutions, the International Court of Justice and various other trans-national structures intended to bring rule of law to the international system.

In recent years, however, there have been indications that that international system may be crumbling.  Political leaders in the US and Europe have expressed increasing doubt about the place of the UN, NATO, and much of that international system.  Rising powers – especially Russia and China – increasingly work to undermine international institutions and agreements.  It is by no means obvious that institutions that have defined the international system for the past nearly seventy years will continue to do so in the future.

This lecture will explore these questions.  Why was the international system created as it was in the first place?  What are the various pressures working against it now?  If it were to be decisively undermined, what would take its place?


Wednesday, April 10, 7:00 pm

Dr. Cook's lecture will take place in the Meyer Ballroom, in Colorado Mesa's University Center. This event is free and open to all.


Aspinall Course

SOCI 396: Ethics and International Affairs

This course will examine how the world came to have the political shape it has at the international level, and the role (if any) of ethics in how states deal with one another.  It will examine the many pressures on the system as it exists coming from the rise of formerly colonial states, the rise of powerful non-state actors such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, and the resurgence of powers such as Russia and China.  We will review the history of the international order from the Roman Empire, through the Reformation and the Wars of Religion, the establishment of the Westphalian international system in 1648, and attempts to create larger interstate forms of governance in the League of Nations and the United Nations.  Finally, we will critically assess the possibility that the “rules” of the international system are being fundamentally altered by the challenges to the system by China and Russia in particular.

April 1-April 19, 2019, MWF 3:00-4:30 pm


Each year, applicants from CMU's Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences with a 3.0 GPA or higher are interviewed by the Aspinall Foundation Board for scholarships. At present, the Wayne N. Aspinall Award is $7,000. The Charles Traylor Award is $6,000. In addition, three Aspinall Scholarships are awarded for $3,000 each and one at $4,000. There are normally 12-16 qualified applicants.

Please note that Aspinall scholarships are considered and awarded separately from CMU's general scholarship application. Applicants must submit a separate application, available below. The due date is March 1st, 2019.

Download the Aspinall Scholarship Application Form