University officials said top business, political and academic leaders will try to focus GW’s global efforts with a new advisory board, which met for the first time April 11.
Members of the board said the University is “over-enthusiastic and scattering our resources too broadly.” It suggested the University do more in certain parts of the world and leave other parts of the world for other universities and institutions to help, University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said.
GW is currently recruiting alumni, parents and prominent international political figures to serve on the board.
“The goal of the Global Advisory Board is to help GW sharpen its international initiatives by helping us to review our activities and serving as an informal visiting committee,” Trachtenberg said.
Conceived by Trachtenberg and Robert Kott, vice president of development and alumni affairs and director of international development, the idea for the board is being advanced through the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs.
Trachtenberg said, “People are donating their time and money to come together for this” but did not specify how the board would be funded once members and goals were officially established.
“What we have are a group of experienced people who are prepared to give their time to make GW a better place,” he said.
The board, a year and a half in the making, will address the state of the global economy and identify different contributions GW can make around the world to position itself as an international institution.
Board members spent most of the first meeting familiarizing themselves with University priorities and setting an agenda for the next few years. Members made several suggestions for how the University could better use its resources abroad by making GW more focused and selective in its efforts.
“We frequently are approached by countries who see a problem in their homeland and think that GW can perhaps help them solve that problem,” Trachtenberg said. “If we think we can lend a hand, we frequently do it.”
Trachtenberg said GW has worked with the Vaccination Diplomacy in China and Egypt, which helps deliver medical care to treat hookworm, a leading killer among children in other parts of the world.
Along with focusing GW’s attention on specific international areas, the Global Advisory Board plans to raise scholarship aid for international students from a broader selection of nations and faculty exchanges with other universities around the world.
As part of the faculty exchange, former Costa Rican President Miguel Rodriquez will join GW faculty in fall 2002.
Although Trachtenberg said he is not sure what the direct impact of the Global Advisory Board will be, he and other faculty members said that it is a “timely step” that will result in a stronger, better GW that is more internationally engaged.