A busy fall for diplomatic visits at IU Bloomington

Work is underway to construction a home for the IU School of Global and International Studies.

No embassies are being built in Bloomington, but work is underway on a home for the IU School of Global and International Studies.

Bloomington may not yet be in the same league as New York and Geneva, but judging from the number of diplomatic visitors to Indiana University this fall, it might seem time to build a few embassies.

Seriously, visits by ambassadors, consul generals and other high-level officials is a regular occurrence, as one would expect at a university with so many national resource centers and language programs and now, the IU School of Global and International Studies.

Last week, Fatih Yildiz, consul general of Turkey, came to Bloomington and inspected IU’s Turkish Language Flagship Center and gave a public talk on his country’s role in regional and international affairs. Turkey neighbors Syria and has sheltered about a half million refugees from the war-torn country.

“Turkey, one of the most powerful and proud countries in the world, is located in a rough neighborhood, to say the least,” Kemal Silay, director of the Turkish Studies Program and chairman of Ottoman and modern Turkish studies in the IU College of Arts and Sciences, said when introducing Yildiz. “Anything and everything is possible in the Middle East at a much faster speed than imaginable.”

On Thursday, Nasir Ahmad Andisha, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, will be on campus as a guest of the Center on American and Global Security and the Australian National University-Indiana University Pan Asia Institute.

He will address the economic, political and security challenges facing Afghanistan at this critical time in its modern history as the combat mission ends and U.S. and NATO forces withdraw from the country in 2014. His address is open to the public and begins at 7:30 p.m. in room 213 of the IU Maurer School of Law.

At 5 p.m. on Oct. 3, Rajendra Madhukar Abhyankar, India’s former ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg, will speak at the Madhusudan and Kiran C. Dhar India Studies Program. Today a diplomat-in-residence at the IU Center for American and Global Security and a visiting professor both in SGIS and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, he will share insights from a 36-year diplomatic career.

Look for future announcements about visiting ambassadors from Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

And next week, more than 30 musical ambassadors will be in Bloomington to perform at the 20th Lotus World Music and Art Festival. The School of Global and International Studies is presenting a free world music party featuring Chicago-based Funkadesi, Montreal’s Nomadic Massive and Bloomington’s own Pan-Basso.

The Lotus Campus Kickoff concert will begin at 8 p.m. in Alumni Hall, in the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. Wristbands will serve as tickets to the event and will be provided to the first 800 people in attendance.

President Michael McRobbie and Vice President for International Affairs David Zaret recently returned from a trip to Africa, where they strengthened IU’s connections with leading universities, met with political leaders and renewed ties with IU alumni. A blog, “IU Goes to Africa: Presidential Visit 2013” provides a thorough review of the delegation’s activities.

None of this information should be a “state secret.” For decades, the world has come to IU and the university has provided invaluable training to diplomats and others engaged in important parts of the world. An IU education is a passport to a world of knowledge.

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