School of International Affairs preparing students for critical issues

University Park, Pa. — In its inaugural year, Penn State's School of International Affairs, housed within The Dickinson School of Law, is preparing its first class of 27 students for critical issues stemming from the impact of globalization, the University's Board of Trustees learned in a presentation Friday (Jan. 23).

Tiyanjana Maluwa, director of the School of International Affairs, explained to the board that a multidisciplinary curriculum offers students the opportunity to gain a master's degree with several specialty concentrations, including science, technology and environment, trade and economics and global leadership and management.

Core courses in the program explore international law, economics, diplomacy, multi-sector quantitative analysis and cultural theories and principles of leadership. A wide range of pre-existing and specially-created upper level courses across the University are available as electives within the program to further shape the curriculum.

Maluwa added that the school is aiming to expand the master's degree program while also developing a doctoral degree program. In the short-term, the school is seeking to increase enrollment to 50 students over the next three years.

Dickinson School of Law Dean and School of International Affair Executive Committee Chair Philip McConnaughay noted that the School of International Affairs has attracted an outstanding initial group of faculty, including Maluwa, who is an acclaimed public international law scholar and who served as first legal counsel to the African Union and counsel to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. That core faculty also includes:

  •  Dennis Jett, former ambassador to Peru and Mozambique and former senior director for African Affairs at the National Security Council;
  •  John Kelmelis, former senior adviser for science policy to the U.S. Secretary of State and former senior science adviser to the U.S. Geological Survey;
  •  Flynt Leverett, former senior adviser for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council and a charter member of the CIA's Senior Analytic Service;
  •  Denis Simon, an expert on technology transfer and China and immediate past provost of the Levin Center for International Study at the State University of New York;
  •  Panagiotis Takis Tridimas, former senior counsel to the president of the European Union and the Sir John Lubbock Professor of Banking Law at the University of London;
  • Richard Butler, Australia's former ambassador to Thailand and Cambodia, former executive chairman of the United Nations Special Commission to Disarm Iraq and one of the world's leading experts on nuclear weapons; and
  • Randall Robinson, a noted humanitarian who established the Free South Africa Movement that was instrumental in ending apartheid, led the advocacy to restore Haiti's democratic government to power, and founded TransAfrica, which has achieved many changes in U.S. foreign policy towards Africa and the Caribbean.

The school's inaugural class of students also is notable for its diversity. Maluwa said students represent 11 different countries on four continents.

"The student body reflects broad diversity in terms of nationality and ethnicity and disciplinary backgrounds," Maluwa added.

McConnaughay said the school's home in the law school's new Katz Building on the University Park campus and its audiovisual telecommunications capacity create the opportunity to extend the School of International Affairs educational opportunities to Penn State students and people across the world.

"This capacity has enormous potential to deliver Penn State-quality educational content to students worldwide who otherwise might not be able to gain or afford access to Penn State, or simply to local students who wish to review a class after-hours as a study aide," McConnaughay explained.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010