Global affairs center created

Yale will boast increased resources for students looking to study international affairs beginning in fall 2010, thanks to a $50 million gift for the creation of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

The Jackson Institute will bring new faculty to the area of international relations and international studies, in addition to offering courses connected to global affairs and expanded career counseling in all of Yale’s schools. The institute was established by ex-pharmaceutical businessman and philanthropist John Jackson ’67, and his wife, Susan.

“The Jackson Institute will take us a quantum leap forward,” said Ian Shapiro, director of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies and Sterling Professor of Political Science.

Shapiro, who helped design the Institute, said Yale has previously had a smaller faculty studying global affairs than universities such as Princeton, Harvard, Columbia and Georgetown.

“We felt that strengthening the international relations and international studies efforts at Yale was something that was important given the world situation,” Jackson said in a telephone interview over the weekend.

Jackson, who said he had the intention to become a diplomat when entering Yale, is the chairman of his family’s Liana Foundation, an organization that donates money to various charities, including schools. Jackson’s great-grandfather was a diplomat, he said, and Jackson would have become one as well had he not joined the Marines to serve in the Vietnam War after graduating from Yale.

Recently, Jackson, who worked on the business side of pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., Inc., served as chairman and chief executive officer of the Celgene Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company.

Shapiro, who will be the acting director of the institute for the upcoming academic year, said the University would start looking for new faculty immediately. In addition to recruiting four professors, the program will bring in people outside academia who have done work in non-governmental organizations, diplomacy and international negotiations, among others, Shapiro said. These practitioners will be at Yale for three to five years.

University President Richard Levin said Sunday night that bringing more people with experience in international affairs — like John Negroponte ’60, a former ambassador who will begin teaching at Yale next year — is a priority of his that the Jackson Institute will help fulfill.

The institute, which will be part of the MacMillan Center, will not form a separate school nor award its own degrees, Provost Peter Salovey said. The career counseling office of the Jackson Institute will help identify summer internships for Yale students interested in diplomacy or global affairs.

Shapiro said the University might be able to admit more undergraduates into the international studies major with the additional resources provided by the institute. Currently, since all majors are required to take a year-long senior seminar, the major is limited by the number of professors who can teach these courses.

Julia Adams, chair of the International Affairs Council at the MacMillan Center and co-director of the Center for Comparative Research, said she hopes the major and the master’s program do not grow too large.

“Part of their strength [right now] is that they are high quality and not enormously large,” said Adams, a professor of sociology and professor in international and area studies.

Despite this, Adams, like many other faculty members in the fields of international affairs expressed excitement about the institute.

Former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, said in an e-mail message that the Institute will give Yale the opportunity to attract “high-quality” faculty, which Zedillo said has been difficult with the traditional system of appointments through departments or professional schools.

“For our center, having more faculty working on topics with affinity to our own core issues, and students being trained in those subjects, [offers] a great opportunity,” Zedillo said.

Charles Hill, Yale’s diplomat-in-residence, said the gift is also significant in that it comes in the midst of an economic recession. (Levin said the University had been in talks with the Jacksons for just under a year about starting the institute).

“That’s just a marvelous and remarkable thing that is a tribute to Yale overall,” Hill said.

Comments

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