January 25, 2013
Lugar, Hamilton agree: It's about the students
By Mike Leonard
January 25, 2013, last update: 1/25 @ 12:36 am
The mutual admiration that former Congress members Richard Lugar and Lee Hamilton hold for each other was reiterated by each in brief interviews following Thursday's announcement that the two men are joining the Indiana University faculty.
Both also expressed another strong sentiment in separate interviews.
"What's most thrilling is the opportunity to work with the students," former U.S. Rep. Hamilton said. "It's stimulating."
Lugar was more expansive on the subject. "I knew I wanted to work with students. We've had hundreds of student interns in our office for varying periods of time, usually with very intense practice," he said. "In other words, they were heavily involved in the work I was doing for weeks and sometimes months."
The long-serving senator said he often looked for other opportunities for bright and dedicated students after their internships were over, sending them to the State Department and other areas of the federal government. "In many ways, working with these students has been the most exciting aspect of my public service," he said.
In response to a question, Lugar said he was excited about the opportunity to discuss and emphasize the importance of diplomacy in his new role in the School of Global and International Studies.
"I do hope I can instill that diplomacy matters and the rest of the world matters," he said. "I've come to the conclusion that the attacks upon all of us are unlikely to be by armies, but, rather, the disruption of our communications or by the hacking of our computers and the cloud and so forth. Or it may be the problems that come from climate change or global health menaces promulgated by others who do not wish us well."
Lugar said the configuration of IU's new school looks ideally suited to contribute to a more peaceful world through its vast resources in language instruction and area studies. "We face very complex problems that require a lot of language skills and skills in understanding the cultures of other nations. And when I talk about the need for diplomacy, I mean speaking to people, writing to people, understanding people, and that requires some understanding of where they're coming from in terms of their politics, their religion, their language."
IU President Michael McRobbie, who was beaming throughout the formal announcement and afterward, said, "The fact that they're willing to attach their prestige and standing to the school says something about their assessment of what we have here. Both of them know this place pretty well.
"Here are two guys who have been in the engine room of foreign policy-making at the deepest possible level," he said. "For a lengthy period of time, either as chairs or members of those committees. They've worked directly with presidents, secretaries of state, secretaries of defense, heads of other parties and so on. It's hard to believe that any other school in the country would have anything better than this."
Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel called the experience of her new faculty members extraordinary. "They've lived the paradigm shift from the Cold War to the post-9/11 world," she said. "There's no one who knows it more deeply than they do. This is a great day for Indiana University."