Clifford Griffin, an associate professor of political science in NC State’s School of Public and International Affairs, has served as a Park Faculty Scholar for three classes, including the Class of 2021, and previously chaired the Park Scholarships Advisory Committee. He specializes in political, economic, cultural, and security relations in the Caribbean and Latin America and is also an affiliate of the Center for the Study of Violence at the University of São Paulo, Brazil.
Drawn to politics by a quest for new information, his research focuses on determining what influences political instability and strategies necessary to engender political, social, and economic development. Beyond his academic expertise, Griffin is passionate about soccer and tennis, enjoys spy novels and films, and loves music, “especially reggae.”
He enjoys the opportunity to meet with Park Scholars from all classes and says his reputation of being intimidating is a complete myth. Griffin has been inspired to serve as a Park Faculty Scholar three times because he enjoys the opportunity to “work with and learn from prospective movers and shakers” and values that Park Scholars are committed to social change and social justice.
An avid traveler, Griffin enjoys experiencing diverse cultural traditions and encourages NC State students to take advantage of NC State’s extensive range of study abroad programs, two of which Griffin directs: summer study abroad programs in China and Puerto Rico. His advice is to “be open, be engaging, be enthusiastic, and, above all, be respectful!”
Among his own travels, Turkey has been his favorite destination so far. “Steeped in history, one encounters enduring evidence of Roman influences, including aqueducts, but not limited to the city of Ephesus; working coliseums; the city of Konya and the poet Rumi’s hometown; the underground city of Cappadocia, traveling across the plains once traversed by the armies of Alexander the Great; Taxim Square in the historic city of Istanbul and a cruise on the Bosphorus.”
While there are countless advantages to being a professor at NC State, the one most important to Griffin is “contributing to the development of citizenship via co- and extracurricular educational activities.” Senior Retreat is Griffin’s favorite Park experience. “I witness the surprise on the faces of the Park Scholars as they recognize just how much they have changed since Freshman Retreat.”
“The true measure of a Park Scholar is reflected far more in how one responds to setbacks as opposed to how one deals with success.”