Fredrik Logevall, director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, was appointed vice provost for international relations.
Logevall said his experiences working with Alice Pell, the current vice provost of international relations, and his background as a historian of the United States and foreign relations has helped prepare him for the position.
Logevall, whose five-year term begins July 1, emphasized that it is important for Cornell to maintain a global focus in an “increasingly interconnected world,” and said he hopes to focus on improving Cornell’s international studies and programs.
Logevall said he sees his role as vice provost as “advising President [David Skorton] and Provost [Kent Fuchs] as we begin to think about how to strengthen Cornell’s international dimension, helping realize the president’s vision presented in his white paper, and supervising some of the stuff we’re already doing at the University, in terms of programs, teaching, faculty and outreach.” While serving as vice provost, he will also remain the director of the Einaudi Center for International Studies, a post he has held for three years.
Logevall said he finds it encouraging that many students come to Cornell hoping to study abroad and said that he sees part of his job as “facilitating” just that.
“Students are coming in with a desire to have a cross-cultural awareness and education,” Logevall said. “One of the things the task force discussed [was] how to include a strong international component in each of Cornell’s colleges.”
Logevall said that he hopes to secure funding for a variety of programs that expand students’ cross-cultural knowledge in order to “offer a robust array of foreign languages and strengthen Cornell Abroad.”
Still, Logevall sees challenges ahead.
“I think we’ve lost some of the stature that we have, in terms of international engagement,” Logevall said. “We have a very eminent position in international studies, that has eroded, to some extent, over the last three or four decades.”
Logevall attributes this “relative slip” to the fact that, post-World War II, Cornell was “a pioneering institution with regard to international studies … but since then, other universities have caught on and other institutions have been emulating what Cornell has done. It’s a compliment, in a way, and also to be expected. Pioneers don’t remain pioneers forever.”
However, he said he has also seen “a disconnect between words and action.”
“We have many faculty and many departments that are world leaders, and there is a lot of great international work being done at the University,” Logevall said. “But in previous decades, we haven’t always made the kind of commitment as a University that we needed to make, in this area.”
Logevall said he believes that the appropriate allocation of resources is crucial to accomplishing his goals as vice provost and securing Cornell’s future as a leader in international studies.
“The challenge will be to maintain the strengths that we have and build on them, to identify new areas where we could make strategic investments and really try to build up what we’re doing, and to make sure that we involve all parts of the campus. A key part of this is going to be to secure the necessary resources — fundraising, seeking outside support as well as support from within,” Logevall said.
Looking ahead, Logevall said that Cornell has the potential to return to its former status as a forerunner in international programs.
“We can really do a lot to re-claim an eminent position in international studies, international programs, international engagement, in order to prepare our graduates to compete and thrive in a world that is growing more and more interconnected,” he said. “It is imperative for universities to be actively involved with the rest of the world.”
Original Author: Sarah Meyers