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Scholars Without Borders

Dickey Center celebrates 25th anniversary
John  Sloan Dickey
John Sloan Dickey (Image courtesy Hood Museum of Art)

John Sloan Dickey, Dartmouth's 12th president (1945-1970) imagined a Dartmouth keenly aware of the world outside Hanover and an ideal Dartmouth student as one who viewed himself as a citizen of the world. "The world's troubles are your troubles...and there is nothing wrong with the world that better human beings cannot fix," he told students in his 1946 Convocation address. In that spirit, the College, in 1982, established the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding to "coordinate, sustain, and enrich the international dimension of liberal arts education at Dartmouth." Now, 25 years after its inception, the Dickey Center boasts a tradition of public programming, support of faculty and students, and a record of public service in the international sphere.

The Dickey Center, recently relocated from its headquarters in Baker Library to the new Haldeman Center, is home to a raft of programs and ongoing initiatives, including public lectures, interdisciplinary service programs, conferences and research, and internship funding and support. Kenneth Yalowitz, director of the Dickey Center and former U.S. ambassador to Belarus and Georgia, says, "We serve three main audiences: students, faculty, and the community, and I think our programs have done a great deal to educate and inform, and cause individuals to be active and involved in the great issues outside Hanover and the United States."

Beyond the Center's support of education initiatives and scholarly research, the organization plays an active role in student life. Students are given "the opportunity to meet with the speakers brought by the Center and explore big issues in depth. Each year, we send more than 50 students abroad. Invariably, these experiences are life-changing. What they learn influences them profoundly," says Yalowitz. "Students tell us all the time that they want to make a difference and our activities and programs give them an opportunity to do that."

Current and upcoming programming includes work with the Center's Institute of Arctic Studies, which this year marks International Polar Year with a variety of events, including the Arctic Science Summit Week in March. Yalowitz also touts the Dartmouth Global Health Initiative, an interdisciplinary, multifaceted effort to improve global health in collaboration with Dartmouth's professional schools. Nearing completion is an International Studies Certificate, available as a major modification, which would provide an overview of globalization and the challenges it presents.

He also cites the new Dickey Center Visiting Fellows program, which brings scholars, postdoctoral researchers, and others to campus for two or three terms to work with students and faculty and which is currently hosting its first fellow, Marianne Stenbaek, professor of cultural studies at McGill University. Stenbaek, who is working with the Dickey Institute of Arctic Studies during her appointment, specializes in native communications in the circumpolar regions. Jonathan Moore '54, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and currently an associate at the Joan Shorenstein Center at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, will be a Dickey Visiting Fellow throughout the winter and spring terms of 2007. Moore specializes in postconflict reconstruction and nation-building.

Dickey Center staff
Dickey Center staff members in their new space in the Haldeman Center. From left: Dianne Casey, administrative assistant; Robert Clough, program coordinator; Lisa Wallace, business and finance manager; Christianne Hardy Wohlforth, associate director; Kenneth Yalowitz, director; Anne Udry, administrator of the Arctic Studies Institute; and Victoria Hicks, assistant to the director. Not pictured are Ross Virginia, director of the Arctic Studies Institute and professor of environmental studies, and Lisa Adams, coordinator of the Global Health Initiative. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Yalowitz, who came to Dartmouth in 2003, says he inherited "a very well-functioning, well-organized and well-developed center. I have had the opportunity to build on the work of my predecessors to develop new initiatives, expand our programs and be the beneficiary of our beautiful new building. We are always open to new ideas and constantly evaluating our activities and priorities. If new areas of interest develop, we're always prepared to adjust and move in new directions."

The Center's anniversary is being celebrated with a series of public events. It began with the Feb. 1 keynote lecture by Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway and director-general of the World Health Organization. Brundtland was both the youngest person and the first woman to serve as Norwegian prime minister. "Her career has been dedicated to better global health and she is a wonderful representative of what the Dickey Center does and is trying to do in the future," says Yalowitz.

See a complete schedule of anniversary-related events.

By GENEVIEVE HAAS

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Last Updated: 5/30/08