To the Editors of The Crimson:
In her September 22 opinion piece, Susan Glasser expresses the opinions that the Kennedy School is just beginning to "diversify into the area of international relations" with several new international programs and is "moving away from the active national role it has cultivated over the past 25 years." As someone directly involved with developing the international programs and with teaching at the Kennedy School, I take issue with both points.
Glasser should realize that international programs have long been an essential part of the School; the largest program is celebrating its 30th anniversary this fall. In addition, the programs bring benefit not only to international students but also to American students who profit from exposure to new ideas.
Glasser implies, mistakenly, that the presence of more international students means that the Kennedy School is shifting its emphasis to diplomacy and international relations. Very few foreign students, however, are training to be diplomats. They have interests in a wide range of areas such as health and human resources, transportation, governing at the state and local level, security issues, energy, the environment, etc. And we have a great deal to learn from them.
The Kennedy School is a professional school serving society's need for excellence in government, but we see our purpose as much broader. We train people for every level of public service: federal, state, local and international. Our focus is not exclusively on American society and in training individuals from other societies, we open the eyes of American students to non-American viewpoints. That helps us avoid parochialism in our teaching.
The Kennedy School is very proud its international programs. Twenty-five percent of our 750 students come from nearly 50 countries besides the United States. Some of our major programs--such as the Mason Fellows Program, with 60 experienced officials from developing and newly industrialized countries each year, and the McCloy Scholars Program, with 16-20 outstanding West German students--serve as models for the rest of Harvard.
Our international students are a remarkable asset for the Kennedy School and the University, and we are delighted that we have been able to attract other new programs such as the Wexner-Israel Fellows program, the CECO-funded program for Spanish officials, the German government program for civil servants and the Middle East Fellows Program for Arab and Israeli health and welfare professionals. These programs assure ongoing funding for the best and most appropriate students and mid-career officials from various countries to come to the Kennedy School; we view that as an ideal situation, and our efforts are in keeping with the internationalization theme that Derek Bok outlined in his 1987 Commencement address. Jim Cooney, Executive Director, McCloy Scholars Program, Kennedy School of Government