Levin seeks YCIAS head

University President Richard Levin has begun a search for a replacement for the retiring director of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies. Levin said he expects to announce within one month a successor to international economist Gustav Ranis GRD ’56, whose term as YCIAS director will end in July, after leading the institution since 1996.

Levin is concurrently conducting another major search for an administrator. He has begun looking for a new undergraduate dean to replace Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead, who will assume the Duke University presidency this summer.

“I have solicited advice from many faculty,” Levin said. “There are a number of people I would like to hear from before I make a decision.”

Levin said he is considering candidates from inside Yale. Other administrators and professors said they expect Levin will appoint a current Yale faculty member to head the YCIAS.

The past two appointees to head the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, another internationally-focused University institution, were high-profile public officials. In 2000, Levin tapped Strobe Talbott ’68, who served as deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration, as the first director of the Globalization Center. Talbott left Yale in 2002 to head the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, and Levin replaced him with former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo GRD ’80.

Because of YCIAS’s academic role on campus — it is the University’s principal center for international teaching and research — History Chairman Jon Butler said he thinks Levin will tap a Yale professor to lead the 43-year-old institution.

“YCIAS is the kind of appointment that, most likely, the president would ask for someone inside Yale,” Butler said.

Possible candidates could include the heads of YCIAS’s nine regional councils and 15 programs and initiatives, administrators and professors said.

“He’s talking to a lot of people, particularly in the councils and programs under YCIAS,” Yale College Associate Dean Penelope Laurans, who is also a special assistant to Levin, said. “I can’t say what progress he’s made.”

Ranis said he thinks Levin is looking at candidates carefully.

“Succession for my job [is] up to the president,” Ranis said. “He makes the decisions. He’s canvassing widely, [looking at] virtually all of our chairs and initiatives and program heads and other people that would know YCIAS. He was hoping that there would be a decision by the end of the month.”

Ranis said he is not involved in the search for his successor.

“What goes on in the president’s head is very hard to know,” Ranis said. “He keeps that very close to his chest and that’s understandable.”

Levin recently sent a letter to the University faculty seeking nominations for Ranis’ replacement, history professor Laura Engelstein, the director of the European Studies Council at YCIAS, said.

“I received a letter from President Levin saying Gus is retiring,” Engelstein said. “[Levin asked,] who do you think would be a good replacement?”

Ranis, who began his career at Yale in 1960 as an international economics professor — one year before YCIAS was founded — served previously as the head of the Yale Economic Growth Center and the Yale-Pakistan Project. He served for three years as an assistant administrator for the U.S. Department of State.

Levin lauded Ranis’ leadership at YCIAS.

“Professor Ranis has done an outstanding job,” Levin said. “He’s really devoted an immense amount of time to helping and assisting the faculty — he’s universally admired.”

Gustav Ranis GRD '56 stands in the foyer of Luce Hall. Ranis is retiring from his directorship of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies.
Courtesy OPA
Gustav Ranis GRD '56 stands in the foyer of Luce Hall. Ranis is retiring from his directorship of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies.

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