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Drake unveils the Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs

June 18, 2013

Drake University is pleased to announce the creation of the R.W. and Mary Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs. Funding for the Institute came from the Nelson family in a gift to distinctlyDrake. The Nelson Institute will provide in-depth international learning experiences for students who wish to pursue careers in international public affairs.

“We are so grateful to R.W. and Mary Nelson for their vision, their enthusiasm, and their generosity in advancing Drake University’s international agenda,” says Drake University President David Maxwell. “They have been remarkable partners in our efforts from the beginning, and it goes without saying that we would not be where we are today without their involvement.”

The Nelson Institute will complement the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship, whose mission is to infuse global perspectives and experiences across the full range of Drake’s academic and cocurricular programs in order to prepare students to be global citizens. Together, the Center for Global Citizenship and the Nelson Institute will ensure that Drake offers a breadth of international learning opportunities.

“R.W. and Mary Nelson have generously supported Drake's international programs for over a decade now and deserve a great deal of credit for the progress we have made during that time,” says David Skidmore, director of the Nelson Institute and professor of politics and international relations. “Their latest gift will allow students interested in international public service to gain valuable preparation through practical learning experiences and the mentorship of our diplomat-in-residence. We are very grateful for the support provided by the Nelsons."

Many of the programs offered through the Nelson Institute will be open to all students, faculty, and staff, however the central activities will be designed to complement and support the international relations major, which is offered through the Department of Politics and International Relations. Experiential learning opportunities will take many forms: simulations, internships, participation in academic conferences, and through interactions with Drake’s diplomat-in-residence, a newly created faculty position funded by the Nelson Institute.

Gerard (Jerry) M. Gallucci has been named the Nelson Institute’s first diplomat-in-residence, effective August 15, 2013. Gallucci is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer and a former United Nations peacekeeper with a distinguished record. At Drake, Gallucci will serve in a variety of capacities, which include teaching three courses; mentoring and advising students; giving public lectures on campus and in the community; assisting with implementation of the Nelson Institute Undergraduate Conference on Global Affairs; and providing advice on internationalization of the University. Gallucci will also collaborate with faculty on shared research interests and serve on the University’s International Advisory Board.

"I am truly excited to have been chosen as Drake University's first diplomat-in-residence. I look forward to learning from my colleagues and from the terrific students that come to Drake,” says Gallucci. “I'm also looking forward to talking with folks from around Iowa about their interests in foreign affairs."

The Nelson Institute will allow Drake to develop and host the Undergraduate Conference on Global Affairs, a new annual event that will bring together undergraduate students from across the Midwest to share research on various topics in global affairs. Drake students will have the opportunity to serve on the conference planning committee where they will select a theme for each year’s conference, solicit panel and paper proposals from students across the Midwest, and coordinate the keynote speaker, among other responsibilities. The Nelson Institute will provide financial and logistical support for the conference, which will serve to highlight Drake’s leadership in international education.

About Jerry Gallucci
Jerry Gallucci has more than 30 years of experience as a foreign affairs professional. He held various senior management positions with the State Department throughout his career, including chief of mission in Brasilia and Khartoum. He also served at the White House in the National Security Council as director for South and Central America. His most recent assignment as chief of staff for the U.N. Mission in East Timor ended in June 2010. He retired from the U.S. Senior Foreign Service in June 2005 and immediately began service with the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo. As the U.N. Regional Representative for the Mitrovica Region, he was responsible for helping maintain the peace along the Ibar River that divided Serbs in the north from Albanians in the south.

Gallucci received his doctorate in political science with a special focus on political theory and political psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, and has taught a significant number of courses throughout his career at various institutions including the University of Pittsburgh, West Virginia Wesleyan College, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and George Washington University.

For more information on the R.W. and Mary Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs, contact David Skidmore at 515-271-3843 or david.skidmore@drake.edu.