By Sarah Donofrio
On Thursday, January 19th, the Catholic University of America Politics Department announced the development of the Center for the Study of Statesmanship. The Center will focus Statesmanship through research, teaching, and public discussion. The Center will be directed by Claes G. Ryn, Professor of Politics at the Catholic University of America, and former Chairman of the Politics Department for six years.
“We welcome the creation of the new Center, which will be a vital voice in diplomacy, politics and public discourse,” said Dr. Dennis Coyle, Chair of the Politics Department. “Its emphasis on the importance of virtue, deliberation, and moderation in foreign policy and statesmanship is consonant with the Catholic values of human dignity and social subsidiarity, and illustrates well how our Department of Politics and the entire university can both build on our Washington location and contribute to the elevation of public debate and policy.”
Professor Ryn’s teaching and research have mainly involved philosophical and interdisciplinary studies. His work combines the study of ethics, culture, epistemology, and the history of Western political thought with the study of American political thought, U.S. foreign policy, and international relations.
“The mission of CSS is to promote a broader, more historical and philosophical approach to statesmanship than is common among experts in international relation, foreign policy, and American politics,” said Professor Ryn.
CSS is being formed through the Catholic University of America’s Institute for Human Ecology. The Institute involves nine professors from various disciplines to create learning opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students. The Institute for Human Ecology sponsors research, analyzes policy, and hosts conferences and lectures. The Institute was inspired by Laudato Si’ and the Pope’s 2015 campus visit.
The Center intends to focus on moral and cultural aspects of restraint and broad views through the studies of moderation, humility, compromise, and circumspection.
“The deep sources of moderation, humility, compromise, and circumspection rooted in traditions and the cultures that have nourished humanism and constitutionalism are currently profoundly threatened by greed, the love of power, dishonesty and mindless rhetoric in public affairs. Dr Ryn’s attention to these topics is a sign of hope,” said John Kromkowski Ph.D., Associate Professor of Politics.
The establishment of the Center will allow new professorships and visiting fellows to enrich the studies of both graduate and undergraduate students. CSS will also sponsor meetings, conferences, speeches, related to fields including diplomacy, military studies, and intelligence studies.
“Hearing about the new Center coming to the Catholic University of America is great news. It will provide more political background and diversity to current and future students and allow for us to experience the availability of opportunities out there in the world of government,” said freshman politics major Meghan Gallagher.
The Center will enhance the Politics Department through faculty research grants as well as support graduate study. CSS will work with other organizations in Washington, D.C. to inform public debate.
“It’s amazing to see the strides the politics program is making. I’m excited to see the impact that the Center for the Study of Statesmanship will make on politics students here at CUA. Especially with all the issues going on today in the world, having future politicians educated on this subject matter is very important,” said freshman politics major Sophie Czerniecki.
“The Center will sponsor research and outreach, including activities that can affect public discussion. In addition to making possible new faculty appointments that will expand CUA course offerings, the Center will be able to draw upon and create synergies among a number of current faculty members who have expertise relevant to the mission of the Center. It will sponsor faculty research projects. The Center will enrich campus debate among students and faculty by means of visiting fellowships and speaking events representing fields like diplomacy, national security, the military, intelligence, and academia,” said Professor Ryn.
The establishment of the Center is made possible by a $2.65 million foundational-five year commitment from the Charles Koch Foundation.
“The Center will have an annual budget, but is now in the initial, build-up phase. It will be a considerable time before the Center is up and running,” said Professor Ryn.