Tobias Center for Innovation in International Development opens with inaugural conference

Indiana University's new Tobias Center for Innovation in International Development opened with a conference that included IU President Michael A. McRobbie, Senator Richard G. Lugar and School of Global and International Studies Dean Lee Feinstein.

The "Visions of Development Conference" gathered policymakers, scholars, practitioners and NGOs to discuss policy and research in the field of international development. The opening conference reflected the purpose of the new center established by a $5 million gift to IU from Deborah and Randall Tobias.

From top: IU School of Global and International Studies Dean Lee Feinstein, Trustee Melanie Walker, Deborah Tobias, Randall Tobias, Sen. Richard Lugar and IU President Michael A. McRobbie pose for a photo at the inaugural "Visions of Development Conference" at the new Tobias Center for Innovation in International Development. Feinstein moderates a discussion with Lugar. McRobbie welcomes attendees to the conference. Photos by Eric Rudd, IU Communications

"The Tobias Center builds on and expands IU’s history of involvement in international development," McRobbie said when he welcomed attendees to the conference. "Its faculty and students will work to identify best practices in the delivery of international assistance, while examining metrics to assess the effectiveness of international aid and the best ways to help aid recipients become self-sufficient. The center will promote research in innovative approaches to international development."

McRobbie also noted the Tobias Center is an addition to IU’s School of Global and International Studies, which was established in 2012 to expand opportunities for international education for IU students, including greater foreign language proficiencies, deeper knowledge of globalization, and better understanding of how societies are developing worldwide.

From left: Senator Richard Lugar speaks at a dinner in celebration of the Tobias Center for Innovation in International Development. First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie and Randall Tobias at dinner celebration. Deborah Tobias and IU President Michael A. McRobbie at dinner. Photos by James Brosher, IU Communications

McRobbie also expressed gratitude to the Deborah and Randall Tobias’ for their gift on behalf of Indiana University, noting their generous support of IU has furthered its missions of excellence in teaching, research, and service to communities around the world.

"Randy and Deborah have been great philanthropic supporters of Indiana University across a wide variety of areas including athletics, the Kelley School of Business, and the IU School of Medicine’s AMPATH program," he said. "They also established the Deborah F. Tobias Study Abroad Scholarship to increase the number of IU students who go abroad for part of their education and bring home essential knowledge and new perspectives."

The Tobiases' gift counts toward the For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign, which McRobbie recently announced has increased its fundraising goal to $3 billion.

Read President McRobbie's conference speech