Skip to main content

To the Hamilton Lugar Community

Mar 6, 2024
Indiana University Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies Dean John Ciorciari speaks with members of the Hamilton Lugar S
Indiana University Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies Dean John Ciorciari speaks with members of the Hamilton Lugar School community during a meet and greet event welcoming him as the new dean of the school at IU Bloomington on Wednesday, March 6, 2024. (Photo by James Brosher/Indiana University)

Dear Hamilton Lugar community,

I am honored and excited to serve as your new dean! It is a privilege to join a community that includes such distinguished scholars and teachers, a talented and dedicated staff, bright and passionate students, and an accomplished global network of alumni and friends.

I have dedicated my career to the study and practice of global and international affairs—as an international lawyer, human rights advocate, U.S. government official, and professor. Those experiences have shown me the value of pairing area studies with a sound grasp of international affairs and engaging with diverse global perspectives to make a positive difference.

I was attracted to the Hamilton Lugar School, because it embodies that winning combination. At a time when too few universities are investing in area studies, IU stands as one of the world’s leading hubs for the study of diverse languages, cultures, and societies. HLS also has a thriving international affairs program focused on the world’s most pressing challenges, from conflict to climate change to democratic decay.

These distinctive strengths are most valuable when paired together. Area studies knowledge enables us to understand global issues through the eyes of real people in real places. A sound grasp of international affairs helps us understand the context in which particular languages, cultures, and societies evolve. As your dean, I am excited to forge new connections between area studies and international affairs, helping the Hamilton Lugar School be a globally recognized leader and pioneer in this respect.

The Hamilton Lugar School also stands for the values of its namesakes, Representative Lee Hamilton and Senator Richard Lugar, and a commitment to foster civil discourse and inform sound policies on international affairs. Ethical and effective policymaking has to be rooted in a deep understanding of both global systems and the specific countries and regions involved. HLS is ideally positioned to inform today’s decision makers and educate tomorrow’s.

Representative Hamilton and Senator Lugar also embody principled engagement across political divides. The need for respectful dialogue across the aisle and for a constructive, bipartisan approach to U.S. foreign policy has never been clearer. The same principle applies to other governments and organizations around the world. Bitter identity-based and ideological divides inhibit progress in meeting many of the most pressing challenges to human welfare. HLS has a vital role to play as a positive model and as a training ground for graduates who will bring some of what’s best about Indiana to the world. I regard this a cornerstone of what makes Hamilton Lugar special.

Realizing this vision—of a school that combines top-tier area studies and international affairs programs to foster principled global engagement—will require investing in our research, teaching, policy engagement, and community. I am excited to be part of that process.

One of my priorities will be to help enable cutting-edge, high-impact scholarship. As part of the IU 2030 Strategic Plan, we will seek a wider array of grants and gifts from public and private sources to support transformational research initiatives related to HLS faculty expertise, such as applied linguistics and global governance. We will collaborate with researchers elsewhere at IU and beyond to lead multidisciplinary projects that can attract large-scale grants and gifts and have transformative impacts. Exciting initiatives are already underway, such as proposals to study the effects of aging on language cognition, the role of artificial intelligence in language learning, the power of quantum computing in cybersecurity, and global environmental governance to promote human health.

Another priority will be to expand and enhance our offerings for students. We will explore new programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, building on our successful programs on cybersecurity and international law, to offer students a liberal arts education and prized professional skills. We will focus on adding opportunities for students to study overseas and to participate in internships and other engaged learning opportunities. We will also set ambitious goals for placing HLS graduates in their target jobs, fellowships, and graduate schools within three months of graduation while boosting the number of HLS graduates selected for prestigious awards such as Fulbright, Boren, and Pickering fellowships.

To boost student opportunities, we will pursue new partnerships. We will grow our presence strategically in Washington, DC, enhancing ties with U.S. government agencies, foreign embassies, international organizations, think tanks, businesses, and civil society organizations. We will also engage with other key partners, such as the United Nations in New York and relevant entities overseas, to expand internship and job opportunities. We will also develop more study abroad opportunities with universities overseas, and explore possible joint courses and degrees.

A related priority will be to deepen our connection to policymakers. Building on successful ventures like the annual America’s Role in the World foreign policy conference, we will host a regular stream of visitors from the world of practice to teach and train HLS students and to engage with our research. An expanded presence in Washington will also enable us to hold events there, involving busy practitioners and raising our visibility and impact.

Last, but not least, I will put great priority on building a strong sense of shared identity among Hamilton Lugar students, faculty, and staff. I feel very fortunate to join such a rich global community and believe engaging with one another is the greatest benefit of the Hamilton Lugar experience. From cultural events to conferences to casual conversations, I want to help make our building a place where we all want to spend lots of time together. I envision the Hamilton Lugar School as a place where each of us walks through the door feeling valued and respected—a place where we can be the best version of ourselves, reflecting our diverse talents and backgrounds and ready to learn from one another.

In the weeks and months ahead, you’ll hear more from me and the Hamilton Lugar leadership team about new and ongoing initiatives. I will also reach out to many of you. I am eager to hear what excites you about the opportunities ahead and to work together to make the Hamilton Lugar School’s next chapter a success.

John Ciorciari

Dean, Hamilton Lugar School
Professor, International Studies

More stories