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Remembering Bob Pastor

SIS Professor Bob Pastor

To the SIS Community:

It is with tremendous sadness that I report that School of International Service Professor Bob Pastor passed away last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the many current and former students and colleagues that he inspired over the years.

As Bob told an audience of colleagues recently at the School of International Service holiday celebration, he was given six months to live when he originally received the diagnosis of cancer, more than 3 ½ years ago. But Bob, true to form, fought his battle against cancer valiantly and was able to witness many more wonderful moments over this period of time, including the birth of his first grandson.

Bob was a passionate, indefatigable scholar, policymaker and humanitarian, who believed that we have a responsibility to assist our neighbors here in the Western Hemisphere, and our neighbors around the world, regardless of the size, complexity or direness of the challenge. From his time in the Peace Corps, to his many electoral observation missions abroad, to his work with The Elders, Bob was committed to improving the lives of millions around the world.

Here at the School of International Service, we were extremely fortunate to count Bob as a faculty member and to learn from his extensive scholarship and commitment to teaching and to his students, many of whom have carried his ideas around the world. He touched the lives of thousands of students here at the university, and previously at Emory University, where he taught for 16 years prior to joining American University. His legacy lives on through them and through his countless publications in support of further North American integration, elections administration and observation, U.S. foreign policy, the Middle East and other pressing global challenges that he pursued.

A poster depicting his most recent book, The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future, hangs in the Atrium level of the School of International Service, near the Office of Graduate Admissions. A memorial guest book will be placed on the table beside the poster, and I invite the American University community to share your remembrances of Bob in the guest book. If you are unable to visit campus, please feel free to email a tribute to iari@american.edu, and we will include your message in the book. We will present the memorial guest book to Bob’s family in the near future.

Members of the American University community are encouraged to seek counseling support, if they would find it helpful during this difficult time. Counseling resources for students are available through the Counseling Center (outside of business hours, please contact AU Public Safety and request the counselor on call). Chaplain resources are available through the Kay Spiritual Life Center.

Finally, I would like to leave you with a statement Bob made recently, at a small dinner he hosted to thank students, scholars and staff who supported his efforts to host the recent conference on the future of NAFTA and the North American relationship:

"Enjoy yourselves. Remain North Americans to the core. That is the future -- that is the idea that will eventually take hold. And you will be the first one there. And so you can remind people: The future of the 21st century is: How do we relate to our neighbors in ways that are different than ways that we've done in the past? And that's the secret of the North American idea."

We will all miss Bob dearly. I hope you will join me by thinking often about the many wonderful lessons he shared with us and honoring Bob by doing more for our neighbors here and around the world.

With best wishes,

Jim Goldgeier
Dean
School of International Service
American University