Distributed April 29, 2002
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.
Tuesday, May 7, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, May 8, 11 a.m.
Friday, May 10, 4 – 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 11, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 11, 2:30 p.m.