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LBJ School Launches New Multidisciplinary Initiative to Train Global Diplomats

In an effort to lead a renaissance among the next generation of diplomatic leaders and scholars, the Lyndon B.

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In an effort to lead a renaissance among the next generation of diplomatic leaders and scholars, the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin is spearheading the launch of Reinventing Diplomacy, a new educational and research initiative that will draw on the research and teaching talents of the LBJ School, as well as that of the university’s School of Law and College of Liberal Arts.

Reinventing Diplomacy will inform, inspire and challenge top students in the study of diplomacy as a historical, contemporary and career subject.

Currently, other university partners include: the Institute for Historical Studies, the Center for European Studies, the EU Center for Excellence, the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, the Departments of Government and History, and the Program in British Studies.

“As American forces return from our country’s two longest wars, there is an urgent need to reassess how we prepare a new generation of global leaders capable of tackling the many challenges we face,” said Robert Hutchings, dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. “Our objective is to work across campus and around the world to make the study of diplomacy more comprehensive, modern and global in outlook through innovations in teaching, research and public outreach.”

According to Jeremi Suri, Mack Brown Distinguished Chair of Leadership in Global Affairs, the Reinventing Diplomacy program is designed to help experts do a better job of training future leaders and scholars to deal with the challenges of a complex, interconnected world.

“The core goal is to help our students and scholars use historical and social science research to work with representatives from other societies,” said Suri, who also has joint appointments at the LBJ School and College of Liberal Arts. “We will improve the understanding, practice and uses of diplomacy for the promotion of national interests.”

The teaching component of Reinventing Diplomacy will begin with a series of graduate courses and executive education opportunities that encompass the study of history, strategy and leadership, using concrete historical case studies of grand strategy, decision-making and international negotiation. Undergraduate courses will also be added.

The research component of the program will commence beginning August 2012 with the arrival of four of the leading postdoctoral Fellows in Residence at the Institute of Historical Studies. These visitors and other faculty members will take part in weekly collaborative research seminars on Reinventing Diplomacy.

The third component of the new program is public outreach. Through conferences, lecture series and media appearances, the program aims to raise awareness of the many dimensions of diplomacy.

In the first of a series of public lectures planned, the LBJ School will host former Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany Joschka Fischer on March 22 for the Reinventing Diplomacy Inaugural Lecture. The event will take place at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum at 5:30 p.m. The next speaker in the lecture series will be Ambassador Nabil Fahmy, founding dean of the School of Public Affairs at the American University in Cairo and Egyptian ambassador to the United States from 1999 to 2008.

In furthering the public discourse on contemporary diplomacy, Suri will participate in a number of upcoming activities and events, including filming an episode of the Longhorn Network program “Game Changers” titled “Can America Be Great Again?” on March 28, which is open to the public.

Suri will also attend the Dallas World Affairs Council meeting and direct a weeklong Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History course for history teachers at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum. Additionally, Suri will lead an executive education course on “Leadership, Strategy, and Decision Making” in May.

In a related initiative involving local outreach, LBJ School Dean Robert Hutchings will lead a group of business and civic leaders in the formation of the Austin Council on Foreign Affairs, with the aim of promoting understanding of global affairs through engagement with leaders and other public figures from around the world within the Austin community. The council will celebrate its official launch with a luncheon March 22 where Fischer will address the group.