Last modified: Friday, July 20, 2007
Patrick O'Meara to be vice president for international affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie today announced that he has appointed Patrick O'Meara to the newly created position of Vice President for International Affairs. McRobbie said he was creating this new position because of the rapidly increasing importance of the international and global dimension in higher education.
O'Meara is an internationally renowned scholar of international development and African politics. He has been serving as dean for international programs at IU Bloomington since 1993 and has been at IU since the 1960s.
With the promotion, O'Meara will continue to have oversight of international programs at all eight IU campuses, and he will have principal responsibility under McRobbie's direction for implementing a new, university-wide international strategic plan. He will provide leadership and coordination of all international directions and initiatives.
"It is essential that we move all of our international activities into a higher gear if we are to keep graduating students well prepared to work in an increasingly borderless world and to become even more competitive in recruiting the best faculty in a truly global marketplace," McRobbie said.
"Patrick O'Meara has given Indiana University a well-earned reputation around the world as a place that truly welcomes and nurtures international students and scholars, and he understands deeply the importance of the global aspects of education. He has laid an excellent foundation for IU as we move to an even higher level of international engagement. I can think of no one more qualified to take on these new responsibilities."
O'Meara is developing a strategic plan with several goals, including attracting and recruiting the very best international students and faculty members from around the world, expanding the number of cooperative research and exchange agreements with other top-tier universities -- especially in Asia and the Pacific Rim -- and developing more overseas study opportunities for IU undergraduates.
"I am an enthusiastic supporter of President McRobbie's vision for greater international engagement," O'Meara said. "I am honored that he is entrusting me with overseeing these important initiatives, which I believe will greatly enhance the educational experiences of our students."
McRobbie has said that today's undergraduate students will need to be "globally literate" in their major area of study because regardless of their chosen profession, they will enter a working world in which global competition and engagement is now the norm.
He hopes to greatly expand opportunities for IU undergraduates to spend time overseas in an international study program or a service experience. One of O'Meara's principal assignments will be developing relationships with overseas universities that can offer relevant quality programs and experiences to IU students.
O'Meara recently returned from India, where he visited several university campuses and met with both students and educational leaders. In March, he was at Zhejiang University in China in order to implement new directions that then-Provost McRobbie had discussed on an earlier visit.
IU's Office of International Programs, headed by O'Meara, is currently overseeing overseas study programs for more than 2,200 students, and it has established exchange relationships with over 200 institutions abroad. The office also provides support services for nearly 5,000 international students and 1,000 visiting scholars.
As dean for international programs, O'Meara has overseen externally funded exchange and technical assistance programs for the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development and a variety of foreign governments, international businesses and foundations.
These programs have provided training and institution building assistance to Angola, Burmese refugees, Indonesia, Macedonia, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and South Africa.
Before his appointment as dean for international programs in 1993, O'Meara had been director of IU's prestigious African Studies Program. He is a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and in the Political Science Department.
A naturalized U.S. citizen, O'Meara was born in Capetown, South Africa, where he earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Capetown. He later earned a Ph.D. in political science from IU and became widely known for his books and publications on Africa.
His first book, Rhodesia: Racial Conflict or Co-existence?, was published by Cornell University Press in 1975. Subsequent books include, Southern Africa in Crisis, 1977, First Twenty-Five Years, published in 1985, International Politics in Southern Africa, published in 1982; and a textbook, Africa, which has been adopted by nearly 100 universities and colleges throughout the United States and abroad. Currently, he is preparing the fourth edition.
Two more recent edited books include: Globalization and the Challenges of a New Century and Changing Perspectives on International Education.
O'Meara has been an outside reviewer or consultant for many different universities and organizations and has testified before Congress on various occasions. He is the recipient of numerous international awards, including the Cross of Saint George awarded in Spain; the Warsaw University Medal; the Amicus Poloniae from the Embassy of Poland; an honorary doctorate from National Institute of Development (NIDA) University in Thailand; and just recently, the Gold Cross of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.
In 2005, on behalf of IU, he received the Higher Education Prize from the Goldman Sachs Foundation for "superior achievement in engaging students in learning about other world regions, cultures and languages."
Indiana University has awarded him the Thomas Hart Benton Medal, the IU John Ryan Award, and the IU Distinguished Service Award. Recent activities include: the Founders Award from the Society for College and University Planning, Washington DC.; and participation in the Indiana Governor's delegation to Taiwan and Japan.