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USF To Unveil New Center For Strategic and Diplomatic Studies

Posted May 15, 2012 by Howard Altman

Updated May 15, 2012 at 03:45 PM

I have to admit that when it comes to geopolitics, I am a geek.

So the University of South Florida’s launching of a new Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, which will “unite interdisciplinary research and expertise to help inform policy decisions,” is something that intrigues me.

As I am rushing out the door to interview another soldier about his experiences in Iraq, I will defer to the press release issued by USF.

According to the university:

The Center for Diplomatic and Strategic Studies is a unique approach linking the latest research in geopolitical issues to policy making, said professor Mohsen Milani, whose expertise on Iran, Afghanistan and the wider region has earned him a place as a frequent commentator on the BBC, Voice of America and media outlets around the world. The center will develop academic programs, organize lectures, workshops and conferences to explore the critical international issues of our times, as well as conduct research and formulate policy recommendations in a non-partisan setting.

“Our goal is to bring down the walls disciplines have created for themselves as well as the walls that have separated the public sector from academia and academia from government,” Milani said.  “We will explore alternative policies that enhance our national security and which also contribute to peace and harmony.”

The center was created through the guidance and support of Karen Holbrook, USF’s Senior Vice President for Global Affairs & International Research; USF Provost Ralph Wilcox and Eric Eisenberg, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. The effort builds on several high-level conferences organized by Milani and College of Public Health Professor Tom Mason exploring security issues in the Middle East and Central Asia, including ones which brought military leaders such as Ret. Gen. David Petraeus, now the CIA director, and Gen. John Allen to campus.

Milani said the times require a new approach to discussing international affairs that require researchers and scholars to contribute their knowledge to create practical and workable policies to ensure security on many levels.

“We can no longer talk about American prosperity or American security unless we understand the connections between our domestic policies and international events,” Milani said. “There is an everyday impact on how we do things, such as the connection between events in the Persian Gulf and Iran’s control over the Strait of Hormuz and the price of gasoline that we pay.

“We really need to have a paradigmal change in the way we look at foreign and domestic policy. We can no longer look at them as two independent entities. They are closely linked.”


The new center, lead by internationally-recognized Middle East expert Mohsen Milani, will hold its first event Monday, May 21, when it hosts journalist Christopher de Bellaigue, author of the newly released Patriot of Persia, a biography of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. The British and American-led coup against Mosaddegh is considered one of the rallying points that fueled the eventual Iranian Revolution and continues to shape Iran’s modern –day interaction with the West.

De Bellaigue’s public lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in Room 206 of C.W. Bill Young Hall, 12303 Maple Drive, on the USF campus in Tampa. The event is free to the public