On Saturday, the Hamilton Lugar School celebrated Hamilton Lugar Day, an exclusive event for admitted IU students interested in pursuing a major in the school. The virtual event gave future scholars the chance to meet faculty, visit with current students, connect with future classmates, and learn first-hand about all the global opportunities at HLS.
The day included a welcome message from Ambassador Lee Feinstein, dean of the Hamilton Lugar School and a trustee of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Amb. Feinstein drew attention to some of the school’s assets: its close-knit community and diverse and growing student population; the extraordinary range of available language classes; the unparalleled opportunities for studying and working abroad; and the guiding principles of celebrating differences and seeking shared understanding.
Faculty members Andrew Bell, Betty Dlamini, and Nick Vogt—representing International Studies, African Studies, and East Asian Languages and Cultures—also provided their perspectives as faculty.
Professor Bell pointed to how dedicated both the faculty and students are. “At HLS it’s a self-selecting group of students who are really interested in the world…and how to make the world a better place. And I see that every day in the classroom,” he said.
Current students and recent alums also shared their perspectives. When asked about some of their most formative experiences at HLS, graduates on the alumni panel pointed to attending the 2019 UN Conference on Climate Change in Madrid, meeting with panelists at the conference on America’s Role in the World®, studying abroad, and pursuing research with faculty.
Luma Khabbaz, now a student at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, appreciated students’ depth of knowledge and the environment of collegiality. “At HLS, I felt like we were all mini-experts on something, and we were all working together,” she said.
Aaron Teater, now a corps member of Teach for America, said that he appreciated the diversity of global issues he learned about, from conflict studies to climate change to the operation of drug cartels.
While these topics are large and difficult to fully grasp, he added that one of the lessons he learned is how to make concrete progress on global problems.
“You can approach these issues from a strategic standpoint and make a difference,” he said.
Neha Srinivasan, a 2020 grad who now works at a policy think-tank called the Bipartisan Policy Center, drew attention to how her HLS education gave her a unique set of tools and experiences that has proven very helpful. At HLS, she did research for two professors, expanded her language competence to include a dialect of Quechua, and wrote her capstone thesis on how eco-tourism can serve as a tool for language revitalization in Kichwa communities, based on her study aboard experience in Ecuador.
“When I was applying to jobs, I think that this international edge that I had was very appealing to my employer,” she said.
And the analytical and research skills she gained, with a focus on solutions, proved equally vital. “That ability to look at things from a 10,000-foot level and then [in] very granular detail was very effective, and I use it every single day now,” she added.
Khabbaz also drew attention to how faculty helped her pursue her interests and take the next steps in her career.
“I think the mentorships were really, really important to me,” she said.
At HLS, she added, “You learn how to think; you learn how to solve problems.”
The conversations with faculty, students, and alums were followed by an opportunities expo, where prospective students got a deeper look at all the paths HLS students can take.
With a return to in-person classes in the fall, incoming students have much to look forward to at the Hamilton Lugar School.