A think tank, an incubator, a joint venture in solving international challenges. Taking risks, creating knowledge, bridging the gap between educators and policymakers. The Institute for the Theory & Practice of International Relations (ITPIR) at William & Mary conducts policy-relevant research — through student-faculty collaboration — and provides data, analysis and recommendations to the media, the public and practitioners. Partners on ITPIR research projects include the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Department of State, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Gates Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, multiple government agencies and nongovernmental organizations in developing countries.
“William & Mary has always had fantastic students and faculty. And over the past few decades, we have developed world-class study abroad programs and an interdisciplinary program in International Relations. But until now, we had no infrastructure to support externally funded research, no venture R&D fund to invest in promising research initiatives, and no ability to connect William & Mary researchers to policy practitioners. The institute now provides such support,” says ITPIR Director Mike Tierney ’87, M.A. ’88.
ITPIR currently is home to five projects. The Teaching, Research & International Policy (TRIP) project tracks change in the international relations discipline through surveys of experts in 30 countries. The Project on International Peace & Security (PIPS) partners with think tanks and government agencies to leverage the acumen and energy of undergraduates who are guided by faculty. Reform Incentives measures the impact of external factors that shape economic and political reform in developing countries. AidData uses GIS technology and data analytics to make information about foreign aid more accessible and actionable. The Violent Intranational Political Conflict & Terrorism (VIPCAT) lab forecasts terrorist attacks and civil unrest at the sub-national level by combining political science with computer science.
The institute was formed in 2008, and its research projects are growing rapidly. This summer, ITPIR projects will employ more than 100 undergraduate students in Williamsburg and locations around the world, including Mexico, Haiti, Tanzania, Uganda, Nepal, Senegal, Switzerland and Germany.
On the horizon is a new partnership between William & Mary scholars and a global effort to help Tanzanian women via a “buy one, give one” mobile phone initiative. Kidogo Kidogo, which is Swahili for “little by little,” sells phone cases designed by a Tanzanian-based artist and donates a mobile phone to a woman in Tanzania for each case sold. Assistant Professor Philip Roessler and five students have designed a field experiment to study the impact of these “phone drops” on recipients’ health, income, safety and poverty alleviation. Representing one of the first field experiments on mobile phone ownership, this project advances the policy debate on the benefits of mobile technology for development.
Many of the institute’s projects were conceived by William & Mary students in collaboration with faculty.
“AidData exists today because Brad Parks wrote an honors thesis in 2003. TRIP exists because James Long challenged his professors to explain why their teaching diverged from their research. PIPS exists because students wanted to do more policy-relevant research and professors Amy Oakes and Dennis Smith listened to them. Students continue to shape the content and direction of all these projects,” Tierney said.
As students from the Executive MBA Class of 2014 were returning from Greece and Spain in May after an eight-day immersion trip learning about business practices in Southern Europe, two William & Mary undergraduates were heading to Switzerland to conduct research at CERN, the world’s largest particle physics laboratory. Two more undergraduates are in the United Kingdom, participating in the Fulbright Summer Institute, one of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programs in the world. Meanwhile, the William & Mary Choir and the Botetourt Chamber Singers toured and performed in the Baltic states and Finland.
Countless other William & Mary students are learning and working this summer in nations near and far, while here at home, the College is hosting young African leaders as part of a White House initiative to help spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance and enhance peace and security across Africa.
William & Mary’s international footprint is robust, just as it has been since the College was chartered in 1693 as a trans-Atlantic experiment. Our priorities include expanding valuable opportunities in all disciplines for meaningful engagement around the world. Such experiences are vital to the success of our students and faculty and the College as a whole. I hope you will take a moment to read about some of the exciting global connections currently being made at William & Mary.
Matthew T. Lambert '99
Vice President for University Advancement
The number of William & Mary students who studied abroad during the 2011–12 academic year, including summer 2012. With 45.7 percent of undergraduates studying abroad, William & Mary ranks No. 1 among U.S. public universities for the percentage of participants in study abroad, according to the International Educational Exchange.
Warren has conducted fieldwork around the world in countries recovering from genocide and war. She served as the 2010-2011 senior expert in constitutional issues for the U.N. Department of Political Affairs Mediation Support Unit Standby Team. “Every time I go into the field, my students are providing me backup research,” Warren said. “When I come home, I bring back to the classroom experiences, stories and documents that I’ve collected in the field, and I use those as the basis for my teaching. It makes the classes very popular because the students know they’re not just going to be reading about something that happened 10 or 12 years ago, but they are going to be able to forecast conflicts that are likely to come up in the future based on current events and propose strategies for reconciliation and post-conflict reconstruction.”
The Reves Center for International Studies has been a vital force for internationalization of all aspects of teaching, learning and research at William & Mary since the center’s inception. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the center was established in 1989 with a gift from Wendy Reves in memory of her husband, Emery, to honor their lifelong commitment to world peace through international understanding.
“I like to think of the Reves Center as the one-stop shop for support and advice involving all things international at William & Mary,” said Stephen E. Hanson, vice provost for international affairs and director of the Reves Center.
From promoting policy-relevant education on pressing global issues to creating special funding streams to promote faculty research and teaching involving international partners and topics, to expanding study-abroad opportunities for William & Mary students, to engaging international students, alumni and supporters, the Reves Center has been central in the College expanding its global reach and impact.
Hanson noted William & Mary’s long and renowned international history — from its beginnings as an overseas campus of the British Crown to the global impact of alumni such as Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe and, more recently, Chancellor and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates ’65, L.H.D. ’98.
“The Reves Center is building on a foundation for international impact that few institutions in the world can match,” Hanson said. “And I think the nimble, efficient model we’ve built for catalyzing internationalization across the university will be widely emulated as a model for 21st-century global education.”
Special events have been held throughout the academic year to celebrate the Reves Center’s 25th Anniversary. A gala celebration is planned for this fall. For more information, visit http://www.wm.edu/offices/revescenter/anniversary/.
Students enrolled in the Joint Degree Programme between William & Mary and the University of St Andrews in Scotland complete two years at each institution and earn a single diploma — a bachelor of arts — with the insignia of both institutions. One of the few international joint degrees offered with an American university, the St Andrews William & Mary Joint Degree Programme enrolled its first students in fall 2011.
Faith, who studied abroad in Russia and China, was the inaugural recipient of the Robert M. and Rebecca W. Gates Scholarship established by William & Mary Chancellor Robert M. Gates ’65, L.H.D. ’98 and his wife, Rebecca. “The Gates Scholarship was definitely very helpful in giving me more opportunities to explore and immerse myself in the culture while I was in China,” Faith said. “Study abroad is certainly not an inexpensive thing, so having the money that the scholarship provided to support my time over there was really helpful. I went to Tibet at the end of the semester. I think it would’ve been harder to manage that if I didn’t have the extra funding from the Gates Scholarship.”
William & Mary student participants work during an alternative break in Nicaragua. Branch Out International provides opportunities for William & Mary students to work with community-driven social justice projects outside the United States during winter, spring and summer breaks.
Faculty, staff and students from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science are involved in a wide range of research projects studying Antarctica’s climate and ecosystems. The implications of this research extend far beyond Antarctica’s icy shores.
William & Mary’s Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, founded and directed by Professor Anne K. Rasmussen, traveled to the Sultanate of Oman in January to learn more about Arab music, work with Omani music students and teachers and perform three concerts, including one for the U.S. ambassador to Oman. The ensemble has been bringing traditional Arab music to U.S. audiences for two decades.
The amount William & Mary’s Reves Center for International Studies provides each year for student study-abroad scholarships; internationally focused public programs; grants for global student-faculty research projects, service learning and faculty international conferences; and scholarships for international students to study at William & Mary.
Bayersdorfer traveled to Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand with Professor Don Rahtz’s Global Business Immersion class in the Mason School of Business. “I think it’s essential that graduate students spend some time abroad — whether it’s part of a program or on their own — because it will help give them an idea of the wider world in which they’re working,” Bayersdorfer said. “The opportunity greatly enhanced the value of my experience here.”