October 20, 2020
Dear friends of the Hamilton Lugar School,
We are already halfway through the fall semester and, even during the pandemic, it is going by fast — as it always does. I am proud of our faculty and staff who continue to show resiliency and community spirit in ensuring the Hamilton Lugar School provides a world-class global education for our talented, principled, and ambitious students.
Speaking of fast, last week I signed up for a flu shot through the IU Mobile app, part of the university’s comprehensive efforts to keep our community healthy. Later that day, I was in and out of a clinic set up in the famed Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in about 10 minutes. The tremendous effort to create and sustain a safe learning environment is a tribute to the university, which is a model in higher education, and for the nation, in showing what is possible with strong and dedicated leadership.
Choosing leaders and overcoming ingrained obstacles to voting is at the heart of our get-out-the-vote campaign in the run-up to the presidential election. HLS senior, Ariana Katz, an International Law & Institutions major from Carmel, Indiana, moderated a conversation on Facebook with executive director Rima Shahid of Women4Change, which “mobilizes Hoosiers to create positive change for women.” The conversation is part of our school’s broader voter registration efforts, including a voter social media campaign.
We are grateful also for the longstanding support of our state to “bring the world to Indiana and Indiana to the world.” Earlier this month, the state’s Commission on Higher Education approved a new joint Master of Arts degree in International Affairs. This degree pairs the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the nation’s #1 school in public administration according to the prestigious Shanghai Ranking, with Hamilton Lugar, which offers instruction in the largest number of critical languages and is top in the nation in area and international studies institutes designated by the Department of Education as National Resource Centers.
The acclaimed work of our faculty is sustained by the generosity of our donors, who continue to support the school in a time of economic uncertainty. Earlier this semester, Shaun and Jill Byrnes announced a generous gift to name our renowned Russian and East European Institute for its founder, Robert F. Byrnes, a historian of Russia and ardent advocate for Russian Studies during the depths of Cold War. This gift is among those made by 1,300 donors who contributed $30 million during the course of the IU Bicentennial Campaign — 120% of the campaign goal set for our school. These donations are supporting 250 scholarships and fellowships, 7 endowed faculty positions, and 3 research centers. Most impressive is that some 270 current and former faculty and staff contributed to the school during the campaign, which concluded last month. The IU Bicentennial Campaign raised $3.9 billion across the university.
The faculty at our Tier 1 research university continues to garner national attention. GLP-Ming Z. Mei Chair of Chinese Economics and Trade, Assistant Professor Wendy Leutert, has published a new Brookings Institution report with her former student, Jack Nolan, analyzing the scope and intensity of Chinese investment country-by-country through Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. The report draws on Jack’s capstone paper during his senior year at HLS.
In Newsweek, Assistant Professor and former U.S. Air Force Officer Andrew Bell joins with Thomas Gift, director of the Centre on U.S. Politics at University College London, on the concept of a “wartime president,” as U.S. deaths from the coronavirus passed 200,000, “roughly twice as many Americans . . . as have been killed in all U.S. conflicts since World War II.”
The Institute of Korean Studies, led by Professor Seung-kyung Kim, is co-sponsoring with the Korean Embassy and Ambassador Lee Soo-hyuck, a series on the impact of Korean culture on North America. The first session had 901 registrants, and we expect more for upcoming sessions on Korean film, television, and K-pop icons, BTS.
Part 5 in our continuing series on Race, Gender, and Power in Global Affairs features journalist and national security writer, Terrell Jermaine Starr of The Root, on U.S.-Russia relations, with former State Department correspondent and Media School professor Elaine Monaghan.
And, Vesna Dimitrieska, research scholar and Director of Global Education Initiatives, a joint position with the School of Education, won the National Network for Early Language Learning Award for Outstanding Support of Early Second Language Learning.
In the classroom, I hosted former political prisoner Wai Wai Nu, who spoke to students in my undergraduate class on “Diplomacy, Security, and Governance.” In 2017, Ms. Nu was selected among the Financial Times Women of the Year for her advocacy on behalf of the persecuted Rohingya minority in Burma. She is a Genocide Fellow at the Simon Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where I serve as a trustee, and chair of the Committee on Conscience. I met with her father, Kyaw Min, a prominent democracy activist, during a trip to Burmadescribed in the Washington Post.
Corresponding with the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the school presented each of our first-year students with a UN Charter, continuing a tradition since 2015. This year’s Charter Ceremony took place on Facebook Live and included remarks by Professor Feisal al-Istrabadi, former ambassador representing Iraq at the UN, and Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, UN former Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. Carmona and her team at the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights worked with our students to produce a recent report for the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women – CEDAW – on advancing women’s land and property rights in Kenya.
Speaking of students, please share our beautiful new view book with parents and prospective students. It is online and interactive thanks to the innovative work of our communications team, led by its polymath director, Janae Cummings.
Thank you, as always, for your good counsel, and friendship. Please be in touch with your thoughts and ideas.
Be well and be safe.