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President's Message | Archive

September 6, 2007

TO: Deans, Department Chairs, and Directors
FROM: Neil Kerwin, President
SUBJECT: Announcement Regarding Vice President of International
Affairs Bob Pastor

I am writing to inform the community of a significant change in leadership and organization that will occur later this year.

On December 31, 2007 Dr. Robert Pastor will leave the position of Vice President of International Affairs after five years of outstanding service to our institution. The functions currently performed by the Office of International Affairs will be reassigned to other units on campus until a new set of goals for our international work, and the organization best suited to accomplish them, are established in the new strategic plan.

Dr. Pastor has been presented with a remarkable professional opportunity. Starting immediately, Dr. Pastor will devote half time to the Elders Project. On July 18, on the occasion of his 89th birthday, Nelson Mandela convened a small group of distinguished world citizens in Johannesburg to tackle some of the world's toughest problems. Known as the Elders, the group is chaired by Nobel Prize Winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and in addition to Mandela, includes Graça Machel, the former Minister of Education of South Africa; Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations; Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States; Li Zhaoxing, former Foreign Minister of China; Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN High Commission for Human Rights; Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former President of Brazil; Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus; Ela Bhatt, leader of Women's Organization in India; and Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director of the World Health Organization. The group invited Dr. Robert Pastor to be a Senior Advisor and moderate their discussions on July 17–18, as he had done in their previous meeting in South Africa in May. The group later asked Dr. Pastor if he would assist them as an Interim Co-Director to help them define strategies for addressing long-standing conflicts in the world. He will be working with them in this capacity until the end of the year when they are expected to appoint a permanent chief executive officer. While engaged in this project Dr. Pastor will devote his remaining effort to working with me and his colleagues to effect a smooth transition for the remaining OIA programs.  

Bob Pastor's contributions to the intellectual and programmatic life of American University are many. During his time as Vice President Dr. Pastor led and worked in collaboration with colleagues across the university in a myriad of efforts that built on our strong foundation and enhanced our reputation as a premier global university. Our study abroad program increased to 105 programs in 34 countries, leading to an award from the Institute for International Education for internationalizing the campus and moved AU to a #8 ranking nationally in study abroad. Abroad at AU—the first junior year abroad program in reverse—was created and has expanded to 74 students through agreements with 34 leading universities in 21 countries. We helped establish the ABTI–American University (AAUN) and this fall welcomed the first student exchanges from that institution. ABTI–American University is now in its third year of operation and already gaining recognition as an important new institution of private higher education in the region. Dr. Pastor established two successful centers—on Democracy and Election Management and North American Studies—with large faculty advisory committees, fifteen visiting fellows, including three Fulbrights, new courses, research, and genuine contributions to the national debates on public policy in both fields. With his guidance and assistance, we have also developed a distinctive language acquisition program and took the lead in an exciting new international volunteer initiative.  

In each of these areas, Dr. Pastor coordinated our University's efforts. He created new programs and raised substantial funding for faculty and student exchanges, conferences, the Centers and the other initiatives. His work with our schools and colleges through the auspices of the centers strengthened curricula, enhanced faculty resources, and resulted in opening new fields and areas of inquiry and opportunities for our students.

Later in the semester I will host an event to mark Dr. Pastor's service as Vice President of International Affairs and to give the community the opportunity to thank him for his work and wish him well in the next phase of his career.

September 7, 2007 9:04 AM

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