Samatar selected Dean for Global Citizenship

By Rebecca DeJarlais

Confirming speculation buzzing among faculty, President Brian Rosenberg announced today that International Studies professor Ahmed Samatar will assume the position of Dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship. The Institute will begin operations with an inaugural conference in March. In a letter posted online and released to the Macalester community, Rosenberg wrote that Director of the Community Service Office Karin Trail-Johnson and International Studies professor Andrew Latham were selected to work as Associate Deans of the Institute.

“The current positions of Dean of International Studies and Programming and Director of Community Service Office will be eliminated, and the programs currently run through the International Center, the CSO and other units will be consolidated within the Institute,” Rosenberg said.

According to Rosenberg, Institute leaders will be supported by a steering committee that includes Provost Diane Michelfelder, Dean of Students Laurie Hamre, Dean for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Jane Rhodes, Dean of Multicultural Life Joi Lewis, Director of the Center for Scholarship and Teaching Jan Serie, Chaplain Lucy Forester-Smith, EPAG chair Ruthanne Kurth-Schai and at least two students, in addition to student- and alumni-led advisory committees.

Latham said a conference in late March will mark the first Institute-sponsored event. Latham, Samatar, Trail-Johnson, Rhodes and International Center Director Michael Monahan will lead a planning committee for the conference, which will feature three speakers–one representing each category of local, American and international citizenship.

The committee will narrow down a preliminary list of speakers using a much shorter timeline than the International Roundtable, which Latham said is typically organized one year in advance.

Latham emphasized the unique quality of the Institute’s conference.

“This is nothing like the Roundtable,” he said. “This conference is much more about students and alumni.”

Rosenberg said the Institute will reach out to a variety of student priorities with an extensive list of projects.

“Other plans…include a series of distinguished speakers on the local, national and trans-national dimensions of global citizenship; an annual spring conference focusing on students’ work in the area of civic engagement; a visiting scholar for 2006-2007; new study-abroad ventures for students; new opportunities for students and faculty to partner with community organizations, and new classes,” he wrote. “Through all of these initiatives, we will be trying both to strengthen our commitment to preparing students for engaged citizenship and socially responsible leadership and to forge our own work on internationalism, multiculturalism and service into a more compelling, integrated and intellectually powerful whole.”

Funding for the Institute will come from a capital campaign outside the college’s operating budget.

Latham and Samatar developed the Institute’s concept two years ago with the objective of bridging Macalester’s academic and non-academic sectors by combining the International Center, Community Service Office and Internship Office.

A committee of staff, faculty and students formed last spring, meeting weekly to discuss the college’s vision for the Institute. On Oct. 1, the committee submitted its recommendations to Rosenberg. The full proposal is available on the college’s Web site.

Some faculty and students maintained concerns that multiculturalism was underrepresented in the Institute’s planning process. (PULL QUOTE?)

“You look at the background of the people who are in positions of administrative authority, and you see how much work they’ve done in multiculturalism,” Humanities and Media and Cultural Studies professor Leola Johnson said.

In the Oct. 21 issue of The Mac Weekly, Rhodes said she did not play a significant role in the planning process, partially because she had not yet started her work at Macalester.

“It’s unclear what role Multicultural Life is going to have, and if that was clarified, that would help,” Rhodes told The Mac Weekly. “It has a lot of potential and could be an exciting addition to Macalester. I’m waiting to see how we’re going to do it.”

­Adelante! leader Alex Flores ’08 said he was not surprised by the Institute’s appointments.

“It’s just more evidence of internationalism taking precedence over multiculturalism by the appointment of Samatar and without somebody who specializes in domestic multiculturalism, at least serving in a supporting role,” Flores said. “It’s not Samatar’s appointment that’s the most offensive, but rather the lack of integration of domestic multiculturalism at all.”

Rosenberg outlined the mission statement of the Institute in his letter: “To encourage, promote and support rigorous learning that prepares students for lives as effective and ethical “global citizen-leaders”; innovative scholarship that enriches the public and academic discourse on important issues of global significance; and meaningful service that enhances such learning and/or scholarship while enriching the communities within which Macalester is embedded.