Nick Cullather named interim dean of IU’s Hamilton Lugar School

Nick Cullather, professor of international studies at the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, will serve as interim dean of the school starting Feb. 1.

Lee Feinstein, founding dean of the school, announced in December that he had accepted a new position in Washington as president of McLarty Associates and will step down from his role at the end of January.

An internationally respected historian of U.S. foreign relations, Cullather served as executive associate dean of the Hamilton Lugar School from 2015 to 2019, and as associate dean from 2014 to 2015. He is also a professor in the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences. His research specialty is the history of intelligence, development and nation-building.

“I am very pleased that Nick Cullather will help to guide the Hamilton Lugar School as interim dean during the search process,” said Interim Provost and Executive Vice President John Applegate. “His many years of leadership at the school, extensive domestic and international scholarship, and reputation among his peers at IU and around the world position Nick well for this exciting challenge.”

Cullather is the author of “The Hungry World: America’s Cold War Battle Against Poverty in Asia” (2010), which won the Ellis Hawley Prize for economic history and the Robert Ferrell Prize in diplomatic history, and was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize for the best book on a global policy issue. He has won Fulbright grants to Austria, the Philippines and Singapore.

“Stepping into this role is an honor that takes me full circle back to my first job: on the staff of Congressman Lee Hamilton,” Cullather said. The school is named for former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton and the late former Indiana Sen. Richard G. Lugar. “I’m eager to help guide our school during this exciting time of transition.”

Cullather served as Hamilton’s press secretary from 1982 to 1986 and as staff historian for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1992 to 1993 before starting his IU career in 1993 as assistant professor, and associate editor of the Journal of American History. He served as editor of Diplomatic History from 2014 to 2019, the journal of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

His work draws parallels between the zeitgeist of today as connected to and influenced by the past, and his articles and reviews appear in publications including The Atlantic, the Toronto Globe & Mail, the San Francisco Chronicle and the LA Times Book Review.


Foreign Policy Begins at Home. It’s Never Been Truer

A timely article, as originally shared with The Hamilton Lugar School community, following the January 6 insurrection.

By Lee A. Feinstein, Founding Dean of the Hamilton Lugar School


In the space of 24 hours we have witnessed the expression of people power in a history-making election in Georgia, followed by a mob’s insurrection at the Capitol. Our neat theories about the one-way trajectory of consolidated democracies have been shaken by democratic backsliding. A longstanding democratic recession is now a global anti-democratic wave.

The world reacts with a mix of schadenfreude and fear. For authoritarian systems in places like Russia and China, the breaching of the doors of the House chamber is an opportunity for gloating, to further suppress forces for democratic change, and to strengthen their hold on power. In longstanding democracies, there is criticism of the idea of American exceptionalism and, also, fear and solidarity. If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.

There are many signs of hope: a record turnout of American voters in the presidential election; the political mobilization of excluded and marginalized voters; the largest protests in U.S. history for racial justice; and vaccines that bring the promise of an eventual end to a cruel pandemic. These are signs of change and renewal and they are naturally shaking things up.

At our global school, these events bring into relief the connection between the quality of our democracy at home and our attitude toward the world. Foreign policy begins at home. That was the theme of our December conference on America’s Role in the World, and it has never been truer. For the United States to have a competent foreign policy, we need to build confidence in the fairness of our political system. That includes economic, social, and racial justice, including making quality education affordable and accessible to all.

Renewal at home is also fundamental to the ability of the United States to play a principled and effective role globally. Without basic agreement that active U.S. support for a more just world is in the interest of average Americans, no foreign policy can work.

At this time of head-spinning change, when a generation’s worth of history is crammed into a 24-hour news cycle, we pause to think about our role as members of this community, about our responsibility to one another, and to our aspirations for a more just and secure nation and world.

Be well, and stay healthy.

Lee Feinstein

HLS Student Benjamin Blythe on Malaysian Politics and Chinese Investment


HLS Student Benjamin Blythe

Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies Master of Arts student Benjamin Blythe has published a blog article with the Council on Foreign Relations examining recent developments in Malaysia. New prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s ascent in the country’s political landscape is linked with evolving patterns of Chinese investment. Blythe, a graduate student in the dual degree program with the HLS East Asian Languages & Cultures Department and the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, primarily researches Chinese politics, East and Southeast Asian affairs, and international development.

Blythe’s article focuses on the United Malays National Organization’s return to power and Chinese investors’ activities with an eye to economic benefits. Blythe argues that Chinese investments are reshaping domestic politics in Malaysia and worldwide as developers have emerged as key players in electoral politics. With a Malaysian election scheduled for 2023, Chinese investment projects are increasingly becoming a key political trend in Southeast Asia and beyond.

New Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob waves from a car, as he leaves after the inauguration ceremony, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 21, 2021. Lim Huey Teng/Reuters

Blythe served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, and he acted as a Chinese Summer Flagship Tutor for HLS, currently serving as a Graduate Research Assistant. HLS’s East Asian Languages, Cultures, and Studies Department offers coursework and research opportunities for students to explore the history, culture, political structure, and world impact of China, Japan, the Koreas, and more. Students like Blythe find opportunities in HLS EALC that fit their future endeavors.

Students of the program can customize their areas of concentration and choose a focus of interest in politics, language, history, culture, or development.

Op-ed: A former ambassador finds optimism at a high school debate contest in Indiana

By Dean Lee Feinstein, as published in the Chicago Tribune

This piece may be disturbing to some readers. It offers limited hope, optimism, and earnest language, with brief scenes of unity.

Like many who have worked on promoting democracy around the world, I spend a lot of time these days worried about the state of our democracy at home. The global democratic recession has evolved into an anti-democratic wave.

But as we move into the holiday season of selflessness and good cheer, I found comfort and confidence when I wasn’t looking for it: at a suburban high school in central Indiana, as an amateur judge at one of the first in-person high school debate tournaments since lockdown.

I traveled on a recent Saturday morning on the school bus with my son, a high school senior and the local debate team for a fall day inside watching forensics. The students are instructed to adhere to a judicious mask mandate: Wear them when you’re not eating. Take them off, if you want, when it’s your turn to debate. The students and their parents reacted to the announced safety protocols without a shrug. No complaining. No studied outrage: just a willingness to do what was needed to participate safely in an activity they loved.

The debaters arrived by 8 a.m. at the tournament from large and medium cities, suburbs and small towns across the state. Like their students, the teachers and coaches are a casually diverse and interactive group: white, Black, Asian, and Latino. Some of the debaters have been in the Midwest for many years. Others are more recent arrivals to the United States. Dare to think of it not as flyover country, but as America’s third coast.

In the debate rooms, young people of all races and genders face off against each other. To the students and the debate judges, the racial and gender differences are unremarked and unremarkable.

It’s not that the students don’t have different points of view. If you listen carefully, you can detect leans to conservatism, left activism, libertarianism, and mainstream politics. But there are no bubbles or algorithms in the debate room. Students are assigned to a side and are prepared to argue both for and against the stipulated resolution; in this case: Resolved: A just society ought to recognize an unconditional right to strike.

The debaters support their arguments in one direction or the other with historical cases. The U.S. postal strike in 1970 during the Nixon administration, for example, yielded to postal workers the right to collective bargaining for the first time, but not the right to strike. COVID-19 was used as an argument for and against recognizing the right of health care workers to organize.

Some of the students injected global perspectives into the debate: An unconditional recognition of the right to strike is necessary to protect workers in countries with minimum wages even lower than in the United States, says one debater. She points as examples to Egypt and Iran — maybe with some direct knowledge from discussions around the dinner table. Her opponent says granting an unconditional right to strike disincentivizes work and is impractical for the world’s poor.

The students adopt contending values and value criteria, ranging from “justice” to “personal security,” from John Locke’s social contract to Immanuel Kant’s ideas about “human dignity,” to the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

And, yes, at the end of the debate, the students set aside whatever emotion may have built up during cross-examinations and rebuttals, with: “Good debate,” or “Nice job,” shaking off the enforced certainties of their debate roles, and the world around them.

These days, I will take hope wherever I can find it. We could all use a day of inspiration with the next generation.

Let’s resolve that the future of democracy in our country will be decided at places like this high school in central Indiana, at the “Crossroads of America.” Where determined people of different backgrounds and perspectives debate tough and divisive issues based on values and investigation. Where, after sparring, partisans treat their adversaries as worthy opponents, not enemies: striving human beings doing their best to navigate a difficult world at this challenging time.

Feinstein to step down as founding dean of IU Hamilton Lugar School

The nationally recognized policy scholar and former ambassador will lead a global advisory firm in D.C.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Lee Feinstein, founding dean of the Indiana University Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, will step down from his executive role Jan. 31, 2022. Feinstein will begin a new position as president of Washington, D.C.-based McLarty Associates, a leading advisory firm founded by former White House Chief of Staff Mack McLarty, that helps navigate strategic and diplomatic challenges worldwide.

“Lee has firmly established the Hamilton Lugar School as a widely recognized and admired institution in the study of international affairs and strategic languages and cultures,” Interim IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President John Applegate said. “His work has deepened Indiana University’s long history of excellence in global education, honoring and extending the remarkable legacy of Representative Lee Hamilton and the late Senator Richard Lugar. We thank him for his exceptional service to the university.”

Applegate said he hopes the connection between Feinstein and IU will continue in some form moving forward.

Feinstein played a key role in the naming of the school in 2018 for two Hoosier statesmen: former Rep. Lee H. Hamilton and the late Sen. Richard G. Lugar. He also established the nationally recognized annual conference on America’s Role in the World in 2015, and a new series on Race, Gender and Power in 2020.

“Dean Feinstein has been an exemplary leader of the global school, which has grown to national prominence since he assumed the role of founding dean,” Hamilton said. “He has set a tone that fosters in our students a commitment to global engagement and the principles to which our country aspires, filling a need that has never been more important.”

In addition to serving as founding dean, Feinstein has been a professor of international studies in the Hamilton Lugar School and an adjunct professor in the Maurer School of Law. A nationally recognized policy scholar, Feinstein has served in senior U.S. government positions that include principal deputy director of the secretary of state’s policy planning staff; U.S. ambassador to Poland; and a presidentially appointed trustee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

During Feinstein’s seven-year tenure, the Hamilton Lugar School has grown into one of the nation’s largest international affairs schools, offering instruction in over 80 languages, with 1,100 students and 120 full-time faculty. In 2018, the school led the effort to establish IU as the national leader in the number of Department of Education-funded Title VI National Resource Centers it hosts, providing expertise in area studies and critical languages and outreach. The school is home to Language Flagship programs in Arabic and Mandarin.

Under Feinstein’s leadership, the Hamilton Lugar School has established a new degree program in cybersecurity and global policy with the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering; a degree in international law and institutions with the Maurer School of Law; and a joint master’s degree in international affairs with the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. In 2021, the Hamilton Lugar School gained national recognition for its support of Afghan evacuees at Camp Atterbury in south-central Indiana.

During the IU Bicentennial Campaign, the school raised $32 million to endow seven professorships, three new institutes, and 250 endowed scholarships and fellowships.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve Indiana University as founding dean of the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies,” Feinstein said. “I am deeply grateful to the university leadership for this opportunity and for their support. I am immensely proud to have played a part with HLS’ dedicated faculty and staff — and our polymath and polyglot students — to deepen and extend our university’s remarkable, two-century tradition of excellence in global studies.”

Applegate said he will appoint an interim dean promptly, in consultation with the school’s faculty policy committee.

MELC’s Newest Publication “The Rich and the Pure”

Professor Daniel Caner of MELC

Among the Hamilton Lugar school’s recent faculty achievements, Daniel Caner published a new monograph, “The Rich and the Pure: Philanthropy and the Making of Christian Society in Early Byzantium“. Professor Caner is the Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC). He primarily examines late antique social and cultural history, with an emphasis on the religious communities of the Mediterranean Middle East.

The Rich and Pure is a social and cultural-historical analysis. The book delves into several elements regarding the early evolution of Christian philanthropy, the Christian notion of sacred wealth, and the people who used/supplied the wealth in the eastern Roman Empire prior to the rise of Islam. Researching how the ancient concept of philanthropy was Christianized in both theory and practice, the book explains how it was articulated through five interrelated gift ideals: alms, charity, blessings, fruit-bearings, and liturgical offerings. The book explores what these gift ideals were intended to mean to Lay and Ascetic Christians, how they defined different types of relationships between these two groups, how they supported the Ascetic acquisition of pure wealth, and how they related to a range of religious and social concerns.

The Rich and Pure is praised as an illustration of history’s first complex Christian society as seen through the lens of Christian philanthropy and gift-giving. Professor Caner studies the origins of what became known as the Byzantine Empire after the fall of the Roman Empire in western Europe. The book shows how Christian philanthropy became articulated through distinct religious ideals of giving that helped define proper social relations among the rich, the poor, and “the pure” (Christian holy people), resulting in new and enduring social expectations. The Rich and the Pure offers a portrait of the entire early Byzantine society.

The Rich and The Pure Monograph

Daniel Caner is Associate Professor at Indiana University, Bloomington. He also researches the Byzantine Empire (the Christianized Roman Empire of the Eastern Mediterranean), asceticism (severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, traditionally for religious reasons), philanthropy, hagiography (writings about the lives of saints), and historiography (the study of historical writing).  His previous books include Wandering Begging Monks: Spiritual Authority and the Promotion of Monasticism in Late Antiquity and History and Hagiography from the Late Antique Sinai.

HLS Students Welcome Afghan Children

Sophie Langfitt and Leah Heneveld giving greeting cards for Afghan families to soldiers who work on the base

HLS students are actively raising awareness of and providing support to Afghan evacuees living at Camp Atterbury, a military training base for the Indiana National Guard. At its peak, over 7000 Afghans lived in Camp Atterbury while waiting for resettlement across the country.

Under the leadership of Abbey Krulik, Sophie Langfitt, and Leah Heneveld, students organized a booth at First Thursdays in October and November where they shared information about Afghan culture, the Afghan refugee situation, and the mission taking place at Camp Atterbury. They also invited participants to create cards for Afghan children. Over 200 cards were delivered to children and families at Camp Atterbury, warmly welcoming them to the Hoosier state of Indiana. The support for Afghan refugees marks another landmark in long-standing advocacy with the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. 

Abbey Krulik is a senior at HLS where she is pursuing a double major in International Studies and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, as well as a minor in Political Science. Krulik’s education in the Arabic language is supported by both the U.S. Department of Defense Arabic Language Flagship Program and the U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship.

Sophie Langfitt is pursuing a BA in International Studies and French at HLS, with a minor in International Relations. She focuses her studies on Diplomacy, Security, and Governance. Langfitt’s interests lie in learning how international foreign policy changes the lives of global citizens, cultural understanding, and how various theories of international relations are used to evaluate and rationalize decisions made by politicians and world leaders.

HLS Call-Out Meeting

Leah Heneveld is a third-year student at HLS, majoring in International Studies and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, with a concentration in Arabic language and minoring in Spanish, as well as studying Pashto. Heneveld works as a Student Ambassador for Indiana University, allowing her to provide guidance to current and prospective IU students.

HLS is mobilizing to provide aid for the Afghan refugees. Jenny Dubeansky, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies in HLS, collected clothing, diapers, and other donations. She is collaborating with local organizations and personally loading items into trucks to ensure they are delivered to Afghan families at Camp Atterbury. Elliott Nowacky, HLS Military Relations Coordinator, and Joey Bradshaw, program manager for the Language Training Center, made materials with basic Dari, Pashto, Persian language, and cultural information available to soldiers at the camp. HLS departments, student organizations, faculty, and individuals on campus are collecting donations of personal and household goods for refugees.

HLS students are also providing direct support to Afghan evacuees at Camp Atterbury by leading a wide range of activities, under the coordination of Rachel Najdowski, a senior at HLS. Over the course of a week, more than 50 IU students, staff, and faculty offer legal assistance, run crafts, games, and sports for children, and teach cultural orientation classes to adults. These activities have been supported by fundraising efforts across campus, collecting over $1000.  Donating materials and funds to support the refugees is also widely encouraged. The refugees primarily need winter clothing: coats, hats, scarves, gloves, long sleeve shirts, and long pants. They also need personal hygiene items and baby care products. Students can drop off donations Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 2700 E. Rogers Road in Bloomington.

Student achievements and services are nurtured by Hamilton Lugar’s mission to prepare global citizens for the world, provide aid, learn about different cultures, and pave a path to make a positive change in the world. HLS continues to work with multiple local, national, and international organizations in aiding impacted scholars in Afghanistan and those who are resettling in the state of Indiana.