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For immediate release: June 30, 2003
Contact: Patricia Allen, (609) 258-6108, pallen@princeton.edu

Princeton creates international institute for research and teaching
Latin American studies scholar Miguel Angel Centeno named director

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Princeton University has launched a new institute to conduct collaborative, interdisciplinary research and teaching on issues of global importance and has appointed Latin American studies scholar Miguel Angel Centeno as the institute's first director.

The Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) will bring together faculty and undergraduate and graduate students across the University to engage in research, curricular and extracurricular projects that will enrich established international curricula. The institute was co-created by the University and its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

"This new institute will build on two long-established areas of strength at Princeton to bring an even greater global perspective to teaching and research at this University, and it will do so under the leadership of an exceptionally gifted teacher and scholar in Professor Centeno," said President Shirley M. Tilghman. "We are delighted that he and the other members of the institute’s multi-disciplinary executive committee have agreed to take on the responsibility of shaping this important step forward for Princeton."

Centeno, whose appointment as director is effective July 1, is a professor of sociology and is on the faculty of the Program in Latin American Studies. His scholarly work is in the areas of Latin American society and politics, political sociology, historical-comparative sociology and societies in transition.

"I could not be more delighted that Miguel Centeno has agreed to become the founding director of PIIRS since his scholarship, teaching and public service exemplify the aims of our new institute," said Provost Amy Gutmann. "His scholarly work integrates regional and international studies into global perspectives, and his award-winning teaching challenges students to understand unfamiliar cultures. Moreover, his commitment to public outreach is second to none. With the strong support of Woodrow Wilson School Dean Anne-Marie Slaughter and an executive committee of remarkable distinction and diversity, PIIRS is poised to contribute in a multitude of ways to our global understanding."

In addition to teaching and research, PIIRS will sponsor conferences, lectures and workshops on imminent global issues and international trends. PIIRS also will sponsor a residential visiting fellows program whose members will be selected annually by the institute's executive committee through an international competition.

"PIIRS will sponsor innovative teaching and research initiatives that will integrate regional and cultural studies with geopolitics, foreign policy and international diplomacy," Slaughter said. "By creating a single powerful entity that will combine many different approaches to international studies, Princeton is strengthening its leadership position as a teaching and research institution responding to complex and ever-changing global issues. The Woodrow Wilson School also gains an important partner in translating academic research into public policy solutions to global problems."

Faculty members named to the PIIRS executive committee include: Slaughter (ex officio), Jeremy Adelman, professor of history; Anne Case, professor of economics and public affairs, Woodrow Wilson School; Sheldon Garon, professor of history and East Asian studies; Atul Kohli, professor of politics and international affairs; Jeffrey Herbst, professor of politics and international affairs and Department of Politics chair; Harold James, professor of history; and Daniel Rubenstein, chair and professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

The creation of the institute was the culmination of 18 months of discussion and work initiated by President Tilghman. In December 2001, a task force of faculty and academic administrators was organized to evaluate the various international studies programs offered by the University.

An external review committee of scholars in international fields from peer institutions was formed to brainstorm with members of the task force, other faculty members involved in international and regional studies and the University's Academic Planning Group. The dialogue involved the Council on Regional Studies, the Center of International Studies, faculty and administrators who manage study and internships abroad as well as science and engineering faculty involved in internship research. The external review committee recommended the formation of an institute, which was approved by the faculty at its May 19 meeting. The institute will replace both the Council on Regional Studies, an interdepartmental organization of regional study programs, and the Center of International Studies, a research group within the Woodrow Wilson School.

"The institute will make the sum of international studies at Princeton greater than the impressive parts already here," said Centeno, who was appointed to a three-year term as the institute's first director. "The Center for International Studies and the Council on Regional Studies have been leaders in these efforts and the institute will combine their strengths and create new avenues for research and teaching. PIIRS will serve as an intellectual home where all the students, faculty and visiting faculty working on related issues can come together, learn from each other and produce the best possible analysis of global and regional trends."

Centeno is the author of "Blood and Debt: War and Statemaking in Latin America," (2002), "Mexico in the 1990: Government and Opposition Speak Out" (1991) and "Democracy Within Reason: Technocratic Revolution in Mexico" (1997). He was co-editor of "The Other Mirror: Grand Theory and Latin America" (2000), "Toward a New Cuba: A Legacy of Revolution" (1997) and "The Politics of Expertise in Latin America" (1997). He also has written and produced a CD-ROM version of his course on “The Western Way of War.”

The master of Wilson College and director of the University's International Networks Archive, Centeno has received grants from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. He has been a Fulbright scholar in Russia and Mexico. In 1997, he was awarded a President's Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton. In 2000, he founded the Princeton Preparatory Program, which provides intensive supplemental training for lower-income students in three local high schools.

Centeno received a bachelor's in history in 1980, a master's in business administration in 1987 and a doctorate in sociology in 1990, all from Yale University.


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