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International Relations Institute to increase NMSU's worldwide visibility

New Mexico State University is keeping its commitment to increase its visibility on the world stage by launching an International Relations Institute next month.


Several dignitaries are expected to attend the launching at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, in the Physical Science Laboratory Auditorium on the NMSU main campus.

After opening remarks by the institute's founding director, Ambassador Delano Lewis, and NMSU President Michael Martin, the keynote address will be given by Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

In January 2003, Sebelius was sworn in as the 44th governor of Kansas. Less than three years later, Time magazine named her one of the nation's top five governors, citing her work to bridge the partisan divide and cut waste in government. In 2006, she was reelected to a second term. Sebelius served four terms in the Kansas House of Representatives and twice as the state's insurance commissioner.

Ambassador Kenton Keith will then speak on "The Middle East and Border Issues." Keith became senior vice president of the Meridian International Center in late 1997 after a career as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Information Agency. At the time of his retirement, he directed the USIA's Office of North African, Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, managing the budget, field operations and public diplomacy activities for the agency's largest geographical bureau. Keith has served as ambassador to Qatar and in various posts in Cairo, Paris, Brazil and the Near East.

After Keith's address, a panel will discuss Africa border issues.

The International Relations Institute will be organized around a series of international centers. Two such centers that have been initiated for the near-term are a Center for International Affairs and Diplomatic Studies and a Center for International Partnerships. Other centers may be added to the institute in the longer term.

The vision of the International Relations Institute is to promote discussion and an understanding of international issues through teaching, research and dialogue. By sharing their knowledge and skills, scholars and experts working on important international issues will help strengthen NMSU's scholarly research, teaching and advocacy capabilities in international affairs. Students who choose international service as a career will receive necessary training and support from the university. Partnerships with faculty, students and New Mexico businesses will be developed, resulting in assistance projects for the developing world. Alternate solutions to improving critical global conditions will be assessed, including finding ways to resolve conflicts between nations, thus avoiding war. This multifaceted vision will help NMSU educate and improve the lives of citizens of the community and state.

Guiding the institute will be an advisory board of eminent international practitioners including Ambassador Keith; Julia Chang-Bloch, former U.S. ambassador to Nepal; Martin Brennen, former U.S. ambassador to Uganda; Ralph Christy; professor of applied economics at Cornell University; Jeffrey Davidow, former U.S. ambassador to Mexico; Richard Emery, a former assistant director for budget review; Nick Franklin, senior principal with Public Affairs Dimensions; former Congressman and U.S. Secretary of Housing Jack Kemp; Margery Krause, president of APCO Worldwide; Ken Lehman, managing partner of the KKP Group; C. Payne Lucas, past president of AFRICARE; Princeton Lyman, former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria and South Africa; Charles Manatt; former U.S. ambassador to Dominican Republic; Tom McDonald, former U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe; Edward Perkins, former ambassador to the United Nations; Tom Tate, former contracting executive for FLUOR Corp.; Vicente Valle, diplomat in residence at the University of New Mexico; and Sharon Wilkinson; former U.S. ambassador to Mozambique.

Several of these board members are expected to attend the institute's launch.