May 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized

Brooke Shearer, founding director of World Fellows program, dies at 58


Brooke Shearer, a former Clinton administration official who later served as the founding director of Yale’s World Fellows program, died on Tuesday at her Washington home.  She was 58.

The cause was cancer, according to The Washington Post.

Shearer, the wife of former deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott ’68, served as a personal aide to Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 during the 1992 presidential campaign and then directed the White House Fellows program during the Clinton administration.  She came to New Haven in 2001 to serve as the founding director of Yale’s World Fellows program, which allows for emerging leaders from around the world to spend a semester studying at the University.

She left Yale a year later when Talbott, who had been the inaugural director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, accepted the presidency of the Brookings Institution.

(Photo: Yale University)

  • tkc


    If I’m not wrong, I was your TA for the module “Government & Politics of Singapore”. It is a pity, in my humble opinion, that you have thought so much and yet so little.

    Didn’t it occur to you that by even talking about such anecdotes of PAP interference in previous iterations of the class, Prof. Mutalib was actually engaging in Singapore’s politics? Did you not realize that by actually talking about censorship in class, there was already a critical discussion of Singapore politics?

    Your use of anecdotes to support your argument is appalling, if nothing else. “A classmate told me that a majority had recognized the pictures but would not speak in class”? If nothing else, I distinctly recall reminding you that you need to explain your statements clearly.

    For starters, why wouldn”t the rest of the class speak up?

    Allow me to tell you why. After speaking to some of my former students who were in that same class, the general response that I received was this.

    “Isn’t it obvious? Abu Ghraib! I really can’t be bothered to answer such a simple question.”

    There are two possibilities to why you did not point this out, and none reflect well upon you, I’m afraid.

    1) The moment you heard the words “wouldn’t speak in class”, you automatically associated such comments with self-censorship without probing further. But if your argument is about the lack of ability of the students and faculty to engage their own country’s politics, what does Abu Ghraib have to do with this? I fail to see the relevance of bringing in an example of Abu Grahib (which is an affair of the U.S.) into this argument. Comparing apples and oranges (to use a cliche), thought not an uncommon academic failing, displays a lack of critical thinking, I’m afraid.

    2) You deliberately omitted this fact in order to shape this anecdote into one in favour of your argument. In that case, this shows a lack of academic integrity, if not a subconscious desire to ignore facts and statements that do not fit in your pre-conceived notion of the academic culture in Singapore.

    As I said, none of these possibilities reflect well upon you.

    • tkc

      In addition, let’s talk about the tutorials for the Singapore politics module. I distinctly do not recall censoring my own statements in class, and neither do I recall submitting your essay to the authorities for approval. In fact, I actually encouraged you (along with the rest of the class) to express your opinions freely, joking that “there are no microphones in the classroom”.

      If you misinterpreted my joke, I suppose the only thing that I’m guilty of is being a bad comedian. Yet, I stand by the fact that in the tutorials you were perfectly free to express your opinions on Singapore politics, be it pro-establishment (or otherwise). If you didn’t, then I feel sad – not just for you, but for the rest of the class, for your comments could have sparked even more vibrant discussion than what had transpired.

      Yes, Singaporean students may be grade-conscious. But to equate that to a lack of academic freedom is sophomoric and definitely beneath you. You may or may not have enjoyed your stint in Singapore, but that does not give you carte blanche to misrepresent the department, nor does it give you the right to make false declarations about the lack of “student freedom” in NUS classrooms. To the professors who have constantly championed academic integrity and critical thinking, it is an insult beyond compare.

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