Brief: Levin to speak on foreign policy in New York address

He is only one day removed from celebrating the 15th anniversary of his appointment to the Yale’s top post, but University President Richard Levin is taking no time to celebrate — for there are speeches to be given.

Levin, the longest serving president in the Ivy League, will travel to New York City today to deliver what will be his third high-profile speaking engagement this semester alone. The president will address the Foreign Policy Association on his view of the role of the university in a globalized world.

His speech, entitled “The American University and the Global Agenda,” will address what Levin sees as the need for leaders in higher education to promote internationalization on their campuses.

Transforming Yale into a global university has been a pillar of Levin’s presidency, and one for which he has received international recognition. In China, for instance, the Yale president is nothing short of a celebrity.

In his speech — which aides said Tuesday was not yet complete — Levin is expected to expand upon the line of argument he made in a headline-grabbing interview with The Financial Times in October, when the president traveled to London for a fundraising junket.

In the interview, Levin criticized what he called the “tremendous insularity” of American leaders, which he said should be addressed by an increased global focus at the country’s top universities.

“If our educational leaders had pushed [internationalization] earlier they might have changed America,” Levin said in the interview. “A major motivation for this internationalization effort … is to combat the tremendous insularity of leaders in America.”

Added Levin, “I also do believe that for personal success in life, in a much more interdependent world, the capacity to understand another culture has to become one of the prerequisites of an educated person.”

Today’s speech is not Levin’s first prominent public pronouncement this year. In January, he delivered a much-anticipated address on climate change at the University of Copenhagen, in which he called on the world’s economic powers to implement a carbon tax or cap on greenhouse gas emissions. And earlier this month, in testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Levin stressed the need for Congress to pass legislation capping carbon emissions.

Founded in 1918, the Foreign Policy Association is a non-profit organization “dedicated to inspiring the American public to learn more about the world,” as its Web site puts it.

Levin was invited to speak by FPA’s president, Noel V. Lateef LAW ’82, an FPA official said Tuesday.

He will speak at the Scholastic Auditorium at 557 Broadway, with his lecture scheduled for 6 p.m. with a reception to follow an hour later. Admission to the lecture is $25, with the fee waived for FPA members and students presenting a valid ID.

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