Distributed April 29, 2002
For Immediate Release

News Service Contact: Kate Bramson

U.N.’s Mary Robinson, NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli

Dedication of new Watson Institute building to focus on global events

Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, NPR Senior European Correspondent Sylvia Poggioli, Brown President Ruth Simmons and former Brown President Vartan Gregorian will gather at the University May 3-11 to help dedicate the new building at the Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and award-winning National Public Radio correspondent Sylvia Poggioli will join a host of political, academic and artistic leaders May 3-11 to help dedicate the home of Brown University’s Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies.

The Watson Institute is Brown’s premier center for innovative analysis of international issues. This January, its research scholars and staff moved into the contemporary new building at 111 Thayer St., consolidating the Institute’s programs, which were once housed in five separate campus locations.

“We have a week of special dedication events planned that highlight different aspects of the Watson Institute’s current work, culminating in a keynote address by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson,” said Thomas Biersteker, director of the Watson Institute. “Her work as high commissioner has important implications for several of our current projects, including the Governance in War-Torn Societies project and the Global Ethics project.”

The Watson Institute began in 1981 as Brown’s Center for Foreign Policy Development, founded by the late Thomas J. Watson Jr. (Class of 1937), chairman of IBM and ambassador to the former Soviet Union. The Center’s mission was to seek solutions to the most pressing problem of that time – the danger of a nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Center and Brown’s other international programs were integrated in 1986 with the creation of the University’s Institute for International Studies, which was rededicated in 1991 to honor Watson.

Internationally renowned architect Rafael Viñoly designed the new Watson Institute building, which houses a state-of-the-art videoconferencing facility with simultaneous translation capability, 80 offices for researchers and staff, five academic concentrations, a media facility that can receive worldwide news broadcasts and the Starr Plaza, an outdoor venue for major events. The three-story, 56,000-square-foot structure was built by Gilbane Construction Company of Providence.

Schedule of dedication events

Friday, May 3, 4 p.m.
Sylvia Poggioli, senior European correspondent for National Public Radio, will receive the 2002 Welles Hangen Award for Superior Achievement in Journalism. She will speak on “Terrorism, Wars and the Trans-Atlantic Relationship.” In Sayles Hall on The College Green.

Tuesday, May 7, 4 p.m.
Gustavo Vega-Canovas, Fulbright visiting professor from the Colegio de Mexico, will give a lecture titled “Mexico’s Transition to Democracy: President Fox’s First Year.” In the Joukowsky Forum at the Watson Institute, 111 Thayer St. The lecture will be followed by an open house in the Rhodes Suite of the Center for Latin American Studies.

Wednesday, May 8, 11 a.m.
The U.N. Environmental Programme Certificate Ceremony for the Watson International Scholars of the Environment. Dr. Nay Htun, professor and executive director for Asia and the Pacific at the United Nations University of Peace, will speak on “Neglect, Conflicts, Hope: A Brief Essay on the Environment.” In the Joukowsky Forum at the Watson Institute, 111 Thayer St., followed by a reception.

Friday, May 10, 4 – 5:30 p.m.
“An Encounter in Copenhagen,” a reading from Michael Frayn’s Tony Award-Winning play Copenhagen, followed by a discussion among the actors and the course instructors of a current interdisciplinary course at Brown based on the play. Participants include Thomas J. Biersteker, Henry R. Luce Professor and director of the Watson Institute; Leon Cooper, professor of physics and a Nobel Laureate; Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Trinity Repertory Company and professor of theater, speech and dance; Abbott Gleason, professor of history and director for University relations and special projects at the Watson Institute; and members of the Trinity Repertory Company. At the Starr Plaza of the Watson Institute, 111 Thayer St.

Saturday, May 11, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
“A Symposium on Contemporary Global Challenges.” Panelists include Brown President Emeritus Vartan Gregorian, chair and president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York; Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, secretary of state for human rights in Brazil; Sir Brian Urquhart, the former under secretary-general for the United Nations; and Susan Woodward, political science professor at The Graduate Center at the City University of New York. At the Starr Plaza of the Watson Institute, 111 Thayer St.

Saturday, May 11, 2:30 p.m.
The Dedication Ceremony. Brown President Ruth J. Simmons will preside. The Honorable Mary Robinson, U.N. high commissioner for human rights and former president of Ireland, will speak about “The United Nations Millennium Development Goals: A New Challenge for International Cooperation.” Robinson’s lecture is a Stephen A. Ogden Jr. ’60 Memorial Lecture on International Affairs. (The Ogden Lectures were established in memory of Stephen A. Ogden Jr., a member of the Brown Class of 1960, who died in 1963 from injuries he suffered in a car accident. His family established the lectures as a tribute to his interest in international relations.) At the Starr Plaza of the Watson Institute, 111 Thayer St.