Dedication of the Global and International Studies Building

Global and International Studies Building Auditorium
IU Bloomington
Bloomington, Indiana
October 14, 2015

Introduction: Forging Global Solutions in a Complicated World

Secretary of State John Kerry, who will, tomorrow, deliver an address here in celebration of the opening of the School of Global and International Studies in this magnificent new home, said in his 2013 confirmation testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

“Today’s world is more complicated than anything we have experienced—from the emergence of China, to the Arab Awakening; inextricably linked economic, health, environmental, and demographic issues, proliferation, poverty, pandemic disease, refugees, conflict ongoing in Afghanistan, entire populations and faiths struggling with the demands of modernity, and the accelerating pace of technological innovation shifting power from nation-states to individuals.”1

Indeed, as Secretary Kerry’s words suggest, the world has not seemed so perilous or unstable for 70 years. Hence, the need for internationally literate and globally engaged citizens is greater than ever. Today, without question, increasing international integration and rapidly expanding global interconnectivity are among the major forces driving and shaping our world—and understanding and responding prudently and sensibly to these forces is of paramount concern for all of us.

Today, we celebrate an historic milestone in the life of Indiana University.

We celebrate a facility that will help prepare this generation and future generations to collaborate across cultures and with other nations.

With the dedication of Global and International Studies Building—the superb new home of IU’s School of Global and International Studies—we celebrate a facility where members of the Indiana University community will work together to forge global solutions to some of the most pressing issues the world faces.

Indiana University's Strengths in Global and International Studies

The scholar D.P. Heatley wrote in his influential 1919 book, Diplomacy and the Study of International Relations, that the student of the international arena “needs precise as well as vast equipment in knowledge, but not less, he (or she) needs equipment in habits of mind.”2

Teaching and research that add to the body of knowledge about the histories, cultures, languages, religions, politics, economies, institutions, art, and literature of countries around the world is, of course, part of the vital mission of Indiana University’s School of Global and International Studies—as is equipping students with the “habits of mind” and the skills of thoughtful and creative diplomacy that will help them thrive in the globally interconnected world of the 21st century.

The school is built on the longstanding and firm foundations of Indiana University’s extraordinary strengths in global studies.

IU offers instruction in more than 70 foreign languages. No other university in the country offers more—and some of the languages offered at IU are not taught at any other American university.

Many of you are also aware of Indiana University’s outstanding strength in international area studies—dating back more than half a century—through its centers that engage in research and scholarship concentrating on certain countries, cultures, and regions from all over the globe. In fact, it has been said that area studies scholarship from such centers has generated more and better knowledge than any earlier project to understand the larger world.3

Of course, the strength of any school or program is very much dependent on the strength of its faculty. Indiana University has more than 350 faculty engaged in research and scholarship that covers every part of the globe and nearly every period of its history—more, by the way, than the number of faculty in comparable prestigious programs at Columbia and Georgetown universities combined.

Indiana University also has a long history of international institutional engagement, in the form of exchanges and partnerships with international peer institutions of the highest quality. We now have well over 200 such partnerships, and they can be found on every continent and in nearly every part of the world. Such relationships are vitally important to our research and education missions. They support faculty research, provide venues for study abroad programs, and aid substantially in our faculty and student recruitment efforts.

All of these great strengths—as well as our high national rankings in the number of students who study abroad, and in the number of international students who study at IU—resoundingly underscored the fact that Indiana University is one of America’s great international universities, with programs that were comparable to the very best in the United States. Thus, we had an outstanding opportunity to further enhance the excellence of these programs by bringing them together under the umbrella of a single school and in a single venue. And so, two-and-a-half years ago, we inaugurated the School of Global and International Studies.

The Global and International Studies Building

The magnificent new building we dedicate today now houses leading departments, programs, and centers in international studies, including some new units such as the Center for South East Asian and ASEAN Studies, and includes major new classroom facilities specially designed to support education in these fields.

The Global and International Studies Building is a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary academic home for the school.

This magnificent building is designed to foster collaboration and the kind of cross-disciplinary research that is necessary to fully address the difficult and highly complicated questions asked by those who explore global forces and developments. Our goal is to create a truly global research and educational environment, where specialists in one part of the world might work side-by-side with scholars focusing on another part of the world, exploring common problems from diverse perspectives.

Cutting-edge technologies in the building will allow our students to collaborate with other scholars and business partners anywhere in the world. The building is also home to a television studio that allows IU faculty experts—who are frequently called upon to offer perspectives on breaking events around the world—to instantly connect with national and global media outlets.

Special Thanks

I would like to take a moment to recognize a number of people whose contributions have helped us reach this day.

IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel—and, before her, former Provost Karen Hanson; Executive Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Larry Singell; and Founding Dean of the School of Global and International Studies Lee Feinstein have all done a magnificent job in shepherding this building project as well as the establishment of the school.

Few know of the vital role that former Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Tom Gieryn, played in the very earliest days of the concept of this program, dating back to 2005, but he deserves our grateful thanks as well.

I am proud to note that the building has been financed entirely through university sources and that approximately half of the funding has come from IU’s revenues from our athletics conference’s television network, the Big Ten Network. This represents, by far, the largest commitment from athletics revenue to support the core academic mission of Indiana University that has ever been made, and, we believe, one of the largest ever in the nation. I am very pleased that Jim Delany, the Commissioner of the Big Ten Conference—and the driving force behind the establishment of the Big Ten Network—is with us today. So, would all of you join me in expressing our appreciation to Commissioner Delany and to the Big Ten Conference?

I also want to commend Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities Tom Morrison—and his predecessor, Terry Clapacs—as well as the many design and construction professionals, both internal and external, who played major roles in this project.

And, finally and more generally, I would like to thank our Trustees for their steadfast and particularly enthusiastic support, not only for the building we dedicate today and the programs it houses, but also, more generally, for their dedicated efforts to guard and care for the welfare of our institution.

The "Need of Eyes for The Past, Present, and Future"

Scholar D.P. Heatley, who I quoted earlier, also wrote that in the study of the international arena, “there is need of eyes for the past, the present, and the future—need for the three eyes of prudence: memory, intelligence, (and) providence.”4

Today, as we dedicate the Global and International Studies Building, we celebrate a facility that will help to widen our horizons and give our students, faculty and staff eyes for the past, the present, and the future—a facility where members of the IU community will employ these perspectives to offer greater understanding of the global forces that shape our lives—and one that will help Indiana University to continue to make vital contributions to humanity’s most pressing global challenges.

Source Notes

  1. John Kerry, Opening Statement at Nomination Hearing to be U.S. Secretary of State, Thursday January 24, 2013, United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Web, Accessed October 10, 2015, URL:
  2. D. P. Heatley, Diplomacy and the Study of International Relations, (Clarendon Press, 1919), 88.
  3. Jerry H. Bentley, “Globalizing History and Historicizing Globalization”, Globalizations 1 (1) (September 2004): 69-81. Reprinted in Globalization and Global History, Barry K. Gills and William R. Thompson. ed., (Routledge, 2006).
  4. Heatley, 87.