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Stanford Institute for International Studies gets new name

On Sept. 1, the Stanford Institute for International Studies was renamed the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford (FSI) in recognition of a $50 million gift from alumni Bradford Freeman and Ronald Spogli.

The funding goes to support the institute and the university's multidisciplinary International Initiative. Based at FSI, the initiative will focus on addressing global challenges to international security, governance and human well-being as part of a broader drive to strengthen Stanford's role in world affairs.

The institute's name change honors Freeman, A.B. '64, a former university trustee, and Spogli, A.B. '70, a former member of the institute's board of visitors, who are founding partners of the Los Angeles-based investment firm Freeman Spogli & Co. Their gift was augmented by additional donations that allowed Stanford to launch the initiative last April with $94 million in support.

As the anchor of the International Initiative, FSI spent the summer quarter rolling out new programs promoting democratic and education reform in developing countries, said institute Director Coit Blacker. From Aug. 1 to 19, the Stanford Summer Fellows Program on Democracy and Development brought 35 mid-career policymakers and activists to the institute and its Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law to learn about the theory and practice of establishing the democratic institutions that underpin stable governance, Blacker said. The interdisciplinary curriculum, developed by the center's new director, Michael McFaul, associate professor of political science, and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss, the center's director for research, focused on the intersection of democratization, economic development and the rule of law.

"The structure of the program represented a unique compilation of knowledge that I could have hardly obtained anywhere else," said fellow Yulia Savchenko, a television journalist from Kyrgyzstan. "It's hard to overestimate the academic advantages of the program. This was a great course for real people doing the real job of democracy promotion on the ground."

In a second summer program, a master teaching class sponsored by the institute's Initiative on Distance Learning (IDL) and the Stanford Teacher Education Program brought 17 teaching instructors from nine regional universities in the Russian Federation to campus from Aug. 22 to 31 to participate in pedagogical training led by Rachel Lotan, associate professor of education. The curriculum offered strategies for creating effective learning environments, organizing content to optimize instruction and developing learning assessment tools.

According to IDL Director Katherine Kuhns, the program aims to help train a generation of future government, business and community leaders in Russia by fostering critical thinking skills and global awareness. Since its inception in 2000, IDL has provided distance learning education to about 2,100 university students throughout the Russian Federation, she said.