UCLA law professor appointed to promote international relations, examine local issues.
This article was first published in The Daily Bruin.
By Ben Thaler, Daily Bruin contributor
KAL RAUSTIALA, a professor at the UCLA School of Law and the UCLA International Institute, was appointed director of the Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations last month.
According to a press release, the Burkle Center is a branch of UCLA's International Institute that supports interdisciplinary research and teaching on global affairs, with an emphasis on the role of the United States. One program in the center is the Burkle Forum, which has brought prominent figures to campus such as former President Jimmy Carter and scholar Alan Dershowitz.
Raustiala, who received his law degree from Harvard Law School and doctorate in political science from UC San Diego, brings his expertise on international law and global governance to the center.
"Kal is an outstanding legal scholar who has written extensively about global legal issues," said Michael Intriligator, professor emeritus of political science and economics and a past director of the center. "He is undertaking several new initiatives at the center, and is (bringing in) many distinguished experts."
Raustiala said he is looking forward to his new position, and is also working closely with center fellows General Wesley Clark and outgoing Mexican Finance Minister Francisco Gil Diaz to host a conference on nuclear arms proliferation March 6-7 at Covel Commons.
"The issue of proliferation is very pressing and important in light of the ongoing crises in North Korea and Iran," Raustiala said. He added that a "terrific lineup" of speakers were attending, including former Defense Secretary William Perry and former UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale.
A key challenge facing the Burkle Center is fielding a wide array of programs across the spectrum of international relations while also examining local issues that students and faculty at UCLA can have the greatest impact on, Raustiala said.
"I've been meeting with past directors and evaluating past forums and programs to determine what ought to be revived and what ought to be changed," Raustiala said.
Other faculty familiar with Raustiala expressed confidence in his appointment.
"Professor Raustiala cares deeply about international policy, and moreover is pragmatic when appropriate," said Richard Steinberg, a UCLA law professor. "(His) broad intellectual bandwidth and his deserved reputation for exercising good judgment make him well-suited to lead the Burkle Center."
Amy Zegart, associate professor at the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research, said with the challenges offered by world politics, the Burkle Center has never been more important. "Kal will take the center in exciting new directions with his immense energy and intellect," Zegart said.
Raustiala noted the changing dynamics of foreign affairs in the 21st century and said the Burkle Center needs to address new concepts such as intellectual property and global health. He also mentioned that the center would continue to focus energy on more traditional concerns.
"International trade and national security are still (two of the most) pressing matters our world faces today," Raustiala said.
Published: Monday, January 08, 2007