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Ralph J. Bunche Center Howard University

From The Director’s Desk
by Horace G. Dawson Jr.

If you’re into international affairs - or aspire to be - this is an exciting time to be at Howard University.

An undergraduate major is in the works; plans already have been drawn for a certificate program at the graduate level, where there is clamor also for master’s degrees and doctorates in the field. The first "on line" course in international affairs is expected to be "up" and ready for the second semester.

Even as these words are being written in summer, 2002, Howard University students are serving internships in American diplomatic missions on five continents, and the list of Study Abroad participants was never longer. A new record is set in this area every semester.

Trade negotiations between Chile and the U. S. were held last fall in the new HU law school library; and the summer before, US-UNA chose Howard as the setting for its international conference. Foreign affairs discussions and similar programs abound, such as the symposium just last month on the political crisis in Zimbabwe and ones earlier on addressing World Bank issues, the Middle East, and charges of slavery in Sudan.

Through increased faculty effort, various individuals and teams within the departments and schools have been receiving grants for internationalization of the curriculum here at home, for travel, research, teaching, and service abroad. Indeed, several of the schools and colleges - law, medicine, nursing, graduate school, engineering, and continuing education, to name a few, have long traditions of overseas interest and activities. Expansion is underway.

Sasakawa Fellows, all doctoral candidates in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, organized a conference during the year on racial minorities in Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the US, with participants from each of those countries presenting scholarly papers on various aspects of the subject. There was representation as well from India.

The seventh annual women

ambassadors conference was held on campus in the spring; and just last week, a group of HU professors hosted a visit of the Senegalese Minister for Democracy. Another group of HU professors are teaching and working in Ethiopian WITH Ethiopians to improve their curricular for the schools; and yet another group of professors and students are doing research in Africa and in Europe on traditional medicines.

Nothing is more exciting than the fervor among students for participation in international affairs activities, such as the recent NATO simulation exercises, and perhaps most of all, the growing interest among students in careers in international affairs. In many ways, this is the focus of this issue of The Globe, where we feature myriad activities and projects taking place under the aegis of the newly established Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program at Howard University. Priorities are engendering interest in foreign affairs among students, and preparing larger numbers of them for diplomatic service careers.

If its foreign affairs mentors students are seeking, they cannot do better than the two senior Foreign Service Officers who have been posted throughout the year at the Ralph J. Bunche Internatinal Affairs Center. One is Ambassador George E. Moose, former Assistant Secretary of State (Africa) and a diplomat who has headed three US missions abroad - Benin, Senegal, and the International Organizations mission in Geneva. Underscoring the value attached to his stay at Howard as Senior Fellow in International Affairs, the veteran diplomat was promoted during the year to United States Ambassador, the highest rank in diplomatic service.

Also at the Capstone - as Diplomat in Residence - is Ms. June Carter Perry. With Foreign Service experience in three geographic areas, including tours as Deputy Chief of Mission (Number Two) in Madagascar and Central African Republic Ms. Perry brought

vast stores of intellect, expertise, and energy to her assignment which focuses mainly on the "Principles of Cooperation" between Howard and the Department of State.

Both Department of State officers have been available throughout the year to faculty and students, providing information about international affairs, diplomacy, and the Foregin Service, encouraging interest, and sharing their experiences. They also have paved the way for numerous students to have direct experiences in Foreign Service agencies here in the US and abroad. Although Ms. Perry will return to the Department soon, she will be replaced as DIR by another veteran diplomat, Nicholas Williams.

What is most telling in all of this movement at Howard is the traditional suggestion that African Americans are not interested in international affairs and secondly, that they are incapable of passing the State Department’s rigorous written examination, the first step in qualifying for Foreign Service. In short order, the lie has been given to both of these presumptions, with growing interest, as outlined above, among students and the fact that 20 Howardites alone have overcome this testing stumbling block in one academic year, 2001-02. This certainly should be sufficient to warrant a "suspension of disbelief" on all sides!

Under Rangel, we now have the responsibility not only to "make the point" here at Howard but also to promote its realization at other HBCUs. This is being done already.

What is different here from past efforts is the enthusiasm which continues to be generated and, at long last, the wherewithal (thanks to the Rangel inspired Congress and the MacArthur Foundation) to pave the way. Vastly important also, of course, is what appears to be finally a welcoming climate at State.

Yes, these are indeed exciting times at the Capstone!

 

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