History-Center for International Relations and Politics - Carnegie Mellon University

History

CIRP Director, Kiron K. SkinnerIn 1999, the dean of Carnegie Mellon University's Dietrich College of the Humanities and Social Sciences asked me to direct the newly created undergraduate teaching program in International Relations (IR), a secondary major and minor to be taken in conjunction with a primary course of study in another discipline.  IR was an interdisciplinary major among three departments: History, Modern Languages, and Social and Decision Sciences.  IR was an instant success, and, in response to student demand, it was made a primary major.

The Department of Social and Decision Sciences, with support from the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, launched Carnegie Mellon's first primary major and comprehensive program in international relations in 2008.  Rooted in the discipline of political science, the major combines the study of international relations and domestic politics, with an emphasis on U.S. domestic politics, and is now called International Relations and Politics (IRP).

When the IR additional major and minor were established, I created a lecture program that attracted some of the most distinguished thought leaders in the United States to Carnegie Mellon's Pittsburgh campus.  I convened an interdisciplinary faculty panel to discuss Iraq on the eve of the Iraq War; a follow-on panel discussion was held in 2004.  These and other standing-room-only events provided a template for the G-20 conference on globalization I hosted the day before the September 2009 G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh.  In advance of the summit, I organized and helped produce a report composed of essays written by a diverse group of internationally recognized scholars and policy experts on issues that would face the G-20 leaders at their summit.  Of the report's 31 essays, 15 were written by CMU faculty members representing 8 departments and 5 colleges throughout the university.  Both the report and the conference, which featured a series of panel discussions by contributors to the report, received worldwide attention.  These activities were made possible by the intellectual and institutional infrastructure I have fostered at the university since the creation of the secondary major in international relations in 1999-2000.  The Center for International Relations and Politics is a further outgrowth of this important infrastructure.