Visions of Development Conference Welcome

GISB Auditorium
Bloomington, IN

Friday, November 10, 2017

IU President Michael A. McRobbie welcomes attendees to the "Visions of Development" conference. Photo by Eric Rudd, IU Communications

Thank you, Dean Feinstein.

I am very pleased to welcome all of you to “Visions of Development,” the inaugural conference of the Tobias Center for Innovation in International Development.

I want to extend a special welcome to the scholars and practitioners who have travelled from across the country and around the world to share their expertise with us over the next two days.

Indiana University has a rich tradition of international engagement that goes back more than 100 years. As part of that tradition, the university has contributed in substatial ways to some of the most pressing problems facing the world.

Today, developing countries around the world face enormous challenges, including threats to food security, energy security, and human health, as well as the consequences of climate change. Globally, more than a billion people live in extreme poverty. Nearly all of them suffer from hunger. Finding innovative ways to enhance development in these countries, as the Tobias Center will do, will contribute enormously to the alleviation of these problems.

Today, all major public and private research universities in the United States are expected—and indeed, have a responsibility—to use their expertise and the new knowledge they generate to contribute solutions to some of the world’s most important social problems.

One way Indiana University has sought to do this is through many widely varied international development projects that have truly spanned the globe. The majority of these projects have involved providing technical assistance designed to create—or reform and strengthen—key institutions. Most often, these institutions have been universities, teacher training institutions, or research programs, but they have also included parliaments, government training centers, ministries of education, and, more recently, national information technology capabilities.

From Thailand to Germany, from Africa to Macedonia, these projects have spanned the globe.

These include the major role played by IU’s eleventh president, Herman B Wells, just after the Second World War in establishing the Free University of Berlin, which has grown to become one of Germany’s finest educational institutions.

This history also includes the role IU played in Thailand in establishing the Institute for Public Administration at Thammasat University in Bangkok in the mid-1950s. The IPA at Thammasat played a major role in strengthening the infrastructure of a nation then in the early stages of economic and social transformation.

A decade later, IU played a leading role in the establishment of Thailand’s National Institute for Development Administration, which has risen to become one of that nation’s leading educational institutions, one that has trained thousands of Thai citizens for service across Thailand and around the world. I was very honored to have been in Bangkok last year as the only invited non-Thai, because of IU's vital role in establishing NIDA, to help celebrate its 50th anniversary.

In the mid-1980s, as the international community was beginning to recognize and renounce the brutality of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, IU joined forces with the South African Council on Higher Education to assist talented black South African students who wished to pursue a university education, but who were having difficulty obtaining entrance to South Africa’s leading universities due to the enormous disadvantages they faced under Apartheid. IU also helped to address a great need in South Africa for skilled professionals with experience in writing laws by spearheading the creation of the Legislative Drafting Program for South Africa.

In the 1990s, after the Kyrgyz Republic had declared its independence from the Soviet Union and was establishing itself as a stable sovereign state, IU was actively engaged in supporting higher education in that part of the world. In 1997, IU was involved in the development of the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and we have remained closely involved with the institution to this day.

In 2001, ethnic tensions in Macedonia led to a year-long armed conflict. In that same year, IU was selected to assist Macedonia’s South East European Universityknown as SEE Universityin establishing its curriculum and administrative structures. We continued to work with this university in the years that followed to promote economic development, to introduce modern curricula, and to expand faculty and student exchanges. I was very pleased to visit Macedonia twice—first to represent IU at the opening of SEE University, just weeks after the civil war there had ended—and again in 2011 to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of SEE University, now established as a thriving institution of over 5,000 students.

More recently, the catastrophic outbreak of Ebola in Liberia underscored the importance of IU’s efforts to help strengthen public health and the medical infrastructure there. In 2010, IU launched a partnership with the University of Massachusetts Medical School and two Liberian institutions to build up Liberia’s capacity for meeting health care needs. And of course, the heroic efforts of IU School of Medicine alumnus Kent Brantley, who played a central role on the front lines in addressing the Ebola epidemic in Liberia in 2014, are well known to many of you.

IU’s Maurer School of Law has also helped to rebuild Liberia’s legal education system and guided constitutional reform. IU's Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis—founded by the late IU faculty members Nobel Economics Laureate Elinor Ostrom and her husband, Vincent—has also assisted with land reform and decentralization programs in Liberia.

The extensive history of IU’s international development efforts also includes dozens of other projects that span the globe, including the role of the IU School of Medicine in establishing the renowned AMPATH program for the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS in Eldoret, Kenya. AMPATH is one of the world’s largest, most comprehensive, most sustained, and best-known academic programs for the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDs. It has continually expanded its successful HIV approach to include the treatment of additional diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and cancer.

The Tobias Center builds on and expands IU’s history of involvement in international development. 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.

The Center is a wonderful addition to IU’s School of Global and International Studies. The school was established, of course, in 2012 with the aim of expanding opportunities for education in international studies for our students, including greater foreign language proficiencies, deeper knowledge of globalization, better understanding of how societies are developing worldwide, the uses and methods of diplomacy and contemporary issues in international affairs.

I want to thank the many distinguished guest moderators and panelists for coming to Bloomington to share your expertise with us. And, I want to welcome Senator Richard Lugar, who is serving as today’s keynote speaker. He is the longest-serving senator in Indiana’s history and one of our nation’s most illustrious statesmen. We are honored that he now serves as Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Practice in the School of Global and International Studies.

Finally, I just want to say a few words about the two people who made the establishment of the Tobias Center for Innovation in International Development possible, Randy and Deborah Tobias.

Randy holds a bachelor’s degree from IU’s Kelley School of Business, as well as an honorary IU doctorate. He was inducted into the Kelley School’s Academy of Alumni Fellows. He received the Distinguished Alumni Service Award, IU’s highest accolade for alumni.

Randy has had a distinguished career in business, education, philanthropy, and government service. As Dean Feinstein mentioned, he served as the nation’s first U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator with the rank of Ambassador. In that role, he launched the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (known as PEPFAR), and directed all U.S. government HIV/AIDS assistance around the world.

As we have heard, he later became the first U.S. director of United States foreign assistance with the rank of deputy secretary of state, overseeing all foreign assistance activities of the U.S. government. Concurrently, he was named administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

He is the retired chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company. Prior to his work at Lilly, he was vice chairman of AT&T, and chairman and CEO of its subsidiaries, AT&T Communications and AT&T International.

And, of course, he has given extensive service to Indiana University. He served on the IU Board of Trustees from 2013 to 2016, chairing it from 2014 to 2016. He has served on the IU Foundation's Board of Directors since 1986.

His wife, Deborah, retired as the operations director for the United Kingdom and Ireland for Juniper Networks. Prior to that she had executive roles at the technology firms Infotron, StrataCom, and Cisco Systems. She is the current vice chair of the board of the IU Health Methodist Health Foundation in Indianapolis. She is a former director of the Catholic Youth Organization of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis City Ballet, and the United Way's "Ready to Learn Ready to Earn" child literacy program.

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, which I mentioned a moment ago. 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.

Last year, Deborah started a discussion with me about ways in which she might celebrate Randy’s 75th birthday with a gift to IU to recognize his passion for enhancing international development. Those discussions led to her gift of $2.5 million to establish the center. Randy subsequently matched Deborah's gift with another $2.5 million.

On behalf of all of us at Indiana University, I want to once again express our deep gratitude to Deborah and Randy for their continued and remarkably generous support for IU that has furthered our missions of excellence in teaching, research, and service to communities around the world.

Randy and Deborah, would you stand for our recognition and thanks?

One of Indiana University’s central missions is to educate students who are engaged and committed global citizens. The development of such citizens is a major function of a responsible university in the modern, interconnected world.

This is one of the main reasons IU established the School of Global and International Studies. It brings together and builds upon IU’s extensive strengths in international studies, including an extraordinary array of language centers, as well as renowned area studies programs that focus on the histories, cultures, religions, politics, economies, institutions, art, and literature of countries and regions around the world.

And given the widely varied international development efforts in which Indiana University has been engaged over the last seven decades, it is clear that IU is the perfect place to establish the Tobias Center for Innovation in International Development. The many students who are here today are testament to the potential of the center and this conference to contribute greatly to IU’s ability to educate engaged and committed global citizens. And the research in which the center’s scholars are engaged will identify best practices in development and innovative approaches that will lead to a healthier and more sustainable world.

Welcome, again to the center’s inaugural conference. I trust that all of you will find it to be very productive and intellectually stimulating.

Thank you very much.