Celebrating the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies

University Tower Ballroom, IUPUI

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

IU President Michael A. McRobbie speaks at the inaugural scholarship dinner for the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. Photo by Alex Kumar, Indiana University

Introduction and acknowledgements

Thank you very much, Grace [Miller], for that kind introduction. Students like you are outstanding ambassadors for the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, and your impressive record of study and service abroad and your commitment to diplomacy and engagement with people from all cultures and backgrounds are a model for your fellow students.

The wonderful video we saw a moment ago about the late Senator Richard Lugar underscores the degree to which the senator’s life and career will continue to inspire people around the world who devote themselves to public service and helping others. Both Senator Lugar and Congressman Lee Hamilton brought to their careers a sense of bipartisanship and duty that reflected an overriding desire to do what is right for America and right for the world. Naming the school in their honor just over a year ago was a fitting and appropriate tribute that reflected—and continues to reflect—the impact of their service to the state of Indiana and the nation.

I am very pleased to be here tonight with so many friends of Indiana University and the Hamilton Lugar School as we celebrate the school’s success and plan for its future through the development of the Global Leadership Scholars Program.

The Hamilton Lugar School

The Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, founded in 2012, is one of 10 new schools established at IU in the last eight years. The school’s mission is to provide an education at the highest level in all aspects of international affairs and international studies, including greater foreign language proficiencies, better understanding of social and political megatrends worldwide, and deeper knowledge of all aspects of globalization—all with the aim of helping to address some of the world’s most significant economic, political, social, cultural, and environmental challenges.

In its first few years of operation, under the leadership of founding dean Lee Feinstein, the former U.S. Ambassador to Poland, the school has been enormously successful.

The number of majors in the school has increased by 83 percent in the last five years.

And Indiana University offers instruction each year in around 70 foreign languages, most of them in the school—by far the largest number of any university in the country.

Just over a year ago, we announced that a record number of 11 IU area studies centers and programs within the school were awarded grant funding for 18 separate programs under the U.S. Department of Education's prestigious Title VI program. These centers conduct research and scholarship on various regions of the world that is critical to our understanding of and engagement with the broader world. This was the best outcome for IU in the more than 60-year history of the Title VI Program and of any university in the country.

Later this evening, of course, we will hear from former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who is one of the most distinguished alumni of one of the oldest and finest of these area studies centers, IU’s Russian and East European Institute.

International engagement at Indiana University

Of all that comprises an IU education, international literacy and experience ranks at the very top. The world in which our students will live will require more, not less knowledge about the world.

In my years as IU president, we have sought to provide this in a number of ways, including:

  • By requiring a mandatory international component for every student as part of their IU education.
  • Through a major increase in the number of our students who study abroad. Over the last 10 years we have seen nearly a doubling in the number of IU students who study abroad. IU Bloomington now ranks sixth in the nation (out of more than 1,000 universities that are ranked) in terms of the number of students who study abroad, and about a third of Bloomington students study abroad before graduation.
  • Through welcoming a large and diverse international student body who come from over 150 countries and who bring the world to IU.
  • By building strong and active partnerships with some of the best foreign universities in the world. We now have around 200 such partnerships.
  • By supporting and encouraging our faculty from all disciplines in engaging internationally.
  • Through the establishment of IU Global Gateway centers in Beijing, Berlin, New Delhi, Mexico City, and Bangkok to help focus and concentrate our activities in key regions of the world.
  • And, of course, through the efforts of the Hamilton Lugar School, which is quickly becoming one of the nation’s most eminent centers of research and scholarship in foreign and international affairs.


In his final State of the Union Address in 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower said, "A …nation can for a time, without noticeable damage to itself, pursue a course of self-indulgence, making its single goal the material ease and comfort of its own citizens—thus repudiating its own spiritual and material stake in a peaceful and prosperous society of nations. But,” Eisenhower continued, "the enmities it will incur, the isolation into which it will descend, and the internal moral and physical softness that will be engendered, will, in the long term, bring it to disaster."1

In the coming years, alumni of the Global Leadership Scholars Program, as well as other graduates of the Hamilton Lugar School—following the examples of the late Senator Richard Lugar, Congressman Lee Hamilton, and tonight’s guest of honor, Secretary Robert Gates—will work to build bridges of international understanding and cooperation that will help to prevent the kind of disaster of which President Eisenhower warned. And they will work to ensure that the United States and all nations are part of a peaceful and prosperous society of nations.

Your presence here tonight—and your continuing support for the school—will help to make all of this possible.

Thank you very much.

Source Notes

1. Dwight D. Eisenhower, "Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union," delivered January 7, 1960, Ike Eisenhower Foundation, Web, Accessed November 18, 2019, URL: https://www.dwightdeisenhower.com/DocumentCenter/View/124/1960-State-of-the-Union-Address-PDF.