January 24, 2007: From the Editor
In December 2002, Princeton’s trustees came together for a special meeting at which they discussed a long-term vision for the University. A key topic was how Princeton could become more internationally minded, a goal deemed crucial after the events of Sept. 11.
The trustees concluded that all students should receive international exposure, on campus and around the world. And a year later, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies was born. PIIRS, its creators said, would bring together interdisciplinary teaching and research on issues of global importance, involving students and faculty alike. By all accounts, it has done that.
Over the last two years, it has sponsored 90 courses, almost half of them new. Large-scale faculty research projects were begun on a range of topics, from work on labor-market discrimination in India to a project on dramatist and poet Friedrich Schiller. And the program has become Princeton’s largest provider of funds for students to study abroad, giving undergraduates money they need for summer language and service programs, and graduate students funds for international dissertation research, writing fellowships, and language study. After several years of planning, PIIRS will inaugurate several seminars next summer, including one that will focus on the Vietnam War and will be taught at the National University of Hanoi.
Princeton has encouraged students both to travel abroad and to think about international issues at home. It’s not always an easy sell. Participation in study-abroad programs has fallen slightly over the last two years, says Associate Dean of the College Nancy Kanach, who directs the programs. Administrators can’t figure out why.
But students and alumni have immersed themselves in the world beyond Princeton in different ways, and with this issue, we hope to provide some insight into their work and lives. Associate editor Brett Tomlinson sits in on a new Woodrow Wilson School course on “International Crisis Diplomacy” being taught by professor Wolfgang Danspeckgruber and former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, one of several diplomats now spending time on the faculty. P.G. Sittenfeld ’07, a PAW student columnist, describes ways in which the University has become an international campus. Other writers introduce us to alumni of different nationalities working in international jobs: a policy adviser, a government official turned academic, a grassroots activist, and an alumnus who just might have the toughest university job of all: John Waterbury ’61, president of the American University of Beirut. Mark F. Bernstein ’83 explores some of the tensions inherent in academia as the interests of American universities grow in China.
As Sittenfeld writes in his article, students still think of Princeton as the “orange bubble,” but increasingly it’s a bubble that takes in the world.