Vice President's Message
Robert A. Pastor
THE BUSINESS OF UNIVERSITIES should be to generate
ideas, refine them through dialogue with faculty and students,
use them in the classroom, and bring them to the
public arena. This comes naturally to a campus that believes
in turning ideas into action and action into service.
During the fall 2005 semester, three compelling sets
of ideas were generated on AU's campus, and these ideas
have already influenced the public domain.
The Commission led by former President Jimmy
Carter and former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III,
organized by AU, helped the country to understand that
democracy requires continuous monitoring (see page 1).
That was the message of their recommendations, and
already Congress and state legislatures are wrestling with
those ideas. As demonstrated below, the Commission's
work garnered significant media attention.
AU's Center for North American Studies, working
with the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and
counterpart groups in Mexico and Canada, proposed that
the United States address its neighbors as a part of a North
American Community. Such an approach will require new
ways to deal with security, competitiveness, and trade issues,
but the new proposals offer an opportunity to transform
North America into a model for the world. After the publication
of the report, Building a North American Community,
I was asked to testify on it before the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee last June and to write a second paper for
the Council on ways to close the income gap between
Mexico and its northern neighbors.
As described in the article on page 2, last August
Abroad at AU welcomed 20 talented students from some
of the best universities all over the world to learn about the United States while bringing the world into AU's
classrooms and dormitories. The students take courses
from across AU's curriculum, including a customized one
called "What is America?". Taught by one of the university's
most renowned professors, Allan Lichtman not only made
American history come alive in the classroom last fall, but
as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, he also
brought in the real world of American politics. This semester,
the Abroad at AU students are taking a class called "How
Washington Works" with Professor Kimberly Cowell-Meyers. The idea -- represented by the students -- is that
the beginning of an excellent comparative education is an
encounter between one's country and the rest of the world.
Abroad at AU student Sanae Higashiyama of Japan
said that her friends had joked that she might meet a president
if she came to the United States. After she met with
Jimmy Carter on AU's campus last September, she phoned
home, and the response was: "Are you kidding?"
With Abroad at AU successfully launched, AU
Abroad has nearly doubled the number of AU students
studying abroad in just three years. U.S. News & World
Report not only recognizes it as one of the best programs in
the country, but AU's rank in the Institute of International
Education's 2005 Open Doors report rose to #7 -- in the
percentage of students studying abroad among doctoral/research instituitions -- from not even making the list a
few years ago.
Election reform, the North American Community,
and internationalizing the campus are just three of many
ideas generated at AU
that extend into the
classroom and beyond.
Their cumulative effect is
to lift AU and transform
an idea like the "Premier
Global University" into
action and service.
Robert A. Pastor
Vice President of International Affairs
Reforming the Vote
"The report released yesterday by a commission on federal election reform...contains a number of valuable proposals."
--The Washington Post, 9/20/2005
Bush, Meeting Panama's Leader, Endorses Widening of the Canal
"They don't need permission from us, but they do need to float bonds," said Robert A. Pastor, the director of Latin American and Caribbean affairs in the National Security Council during the Carter administration and now a professor at American University. "Having President Bush make a positive statement about it is helpful in terms of financing."
--The New York Times, 11/8/2005
Voting Reform is in the Cards
"We agreed to lead the Commission on Federal Election Reform because of our shared concern that too many Americans lack confidence in the electoral process..."
--Op-Ed, The New York Times, 9/23/2005
"The 2005 Open Doors report ranked AU #7 in the percentage of students studying abroad."
--Institute of International Education
Carter-Baker Panel to Call for Voting Fixes
"The Commission on Federal Election Reform was created under the auspices of American University's Center for Democracy and Election Management. The group was funded by several foundations, and Robert A. Pastor of American University served as executive director."
--The Washington Post, 9/19/2005
Why The Americas Have Drifted Apart
"'The way the U.S. handled problems in Venezuela and Bolivia has made it much more difficult to forge any coalitions on democratization at this point,' says Robert Pastor, director of the Center for North American Studies at American University..."
--The Christian Science Monitor, 11/2/2005
The Importance of Being Good Neighbours
"Earlier this year, a report by the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York think-tank, made some sensible proposals for 'Building a North American Community.'"
--The Economist, 8/27/2005
Voting Panel Will Propose New Calendar for Primaries
"The new panel was organized by American University to address those [election reform] problems. Its 21 members include politicians from both parties and others with election experience."
--The New York Times, 9/19/2005
Jimmy Carter Hosts Town Hall Meeting
"...Commission on Federal Election Reform made 87 recommendations to improve the electoral process, including photo IDs for all voters, and impartial election administration and a paper trail for electronic voting machines. AU's Center for Democracy and Election Management organized the group."
--The Eagle, 9/22/2005