As we get ready to enter the third decade of the 21st century, we are confronted by uncertainties everywhere. Millions of people around the world are living under constant threat of war, displacement and economic hardship; many countries exist in a state of perpetual antagonism, conflict and even war with each other; and international treaties and organizations that provided a forum for peaceful resolution of problems for most of the post- World War II era are losing their efficacy.
The undergraduate and graduate degrees that the Jackson School offer are designed to prepare our students precisely for such challenging conditions. In addition to studying major regions of the world with careful attention to their culture, history and language, our students have the opportunity to learn about some of the most pertinent issues of our time. For example, the capstone Task Force seminars in 2019 covered topics such as Climate Change, Detention of Children by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), International Cyber Security, and Syrian Reconstruction. Dani Rodrik from Harvard Kennedy School gave a lecture on Reinventing Globalization in Winter 2019. The popular Trump in the World course and lecture series filled one of our large lecture halls every week in Spring 2019.
On May 2, Jackson School faculty and students joined policy makers in Washington D.C. to discuss the role of foreign policy experts in policy-making. This autumn we hosted Allison Stanger from Middlebury College with a lecture on “Why U.S. Needs Whistleblowers” and Stephen Walt from Harvard Kennedy School addressed the question “Can the U.S. Still Have a Successful Foreign Policy?” My colleagues in our National Resource Centers organized many programs for the teachers of our region including a two-day program on media literacy and fake news.
We are poised to continue the rest of the academic year with equally exciting events, visitors and courses. Our Task Force program will include seminars on Artificial Intelligence, Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa and EU-China Relations. We are planning to host Enrico Letta, former Prime Minister of Italy, for a public lecture, we will travel to Washington D.C. for a workshop on “Values and Principles in Foreign Policy” and the Trump in the World series will return in Spring 2020. Also just in: On April 30, 2020, we will host Michael McFaul, former Ambassador to Russia and director of Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, where he is also a professor.
With the excellent education they receive in the Jackson School, our students continue to make us proud with their post-graduation successes. There were six Fulbright Scholars, one Boren Fellow, one Yenching Academy Scholar and two UW Bonderman Fellows among the students who graduated in Spring 2019. It is especially gratifying to know that 95 percent of the Class of 2018 was employed or pursuing further education within six months of graduation. In October, Seonhee Kim, who recently earned her doctorate at the Jackson School, was awarded an 18-month postdoctoral fellowship from the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, one of the oldest and most prestigious Russia centers in the U.S.
After 10 exciting and deeply fulfilling years, I will be stepping down from my position as Director in June 2020. From our endowment that more than doubled, to the Applied Masters and Ph.D. Programs; from our growing impact on our region and the country, to the growing number of excellent students we are teaching, the Jackson School has many accomplishments that I will always be proud of. On behalf my colleagues and our students, I would like to take this opportunity to express a special word of gratitude to you for your support, encouragement and friendship. Our ties to our community are what make the Jackson School a special place and it is those ties that guarantee our continuing success.
Thank you and happy new year.
Director – Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
Stanley D. Golub Chair of International Studies