A Message from the Dean

Dear Elliott School Students, Faculty, Staff, and Friends:

Let me begin by saying that as finals season rapidly approaches, I urge those of you who are students to exercise self-care. I know you’ll be studying hard. Remember to also eat healthly healthfully, to exercise, and to get enough sleep. Keep in mind, too, that we have set aside December 6 as “stress-less” day, when you can pause a moment to hug a therapy dog, get a free massage, participate in guided meditation, decorate cookies, and paint pottery.

As we close out the calendar year, we will be wishing farewell to some long-standing faculty members. I’d like to thank retiring faculty Professors Henry Nau, Ed McCord and Ronald Spector who have dedicated their careers to teaching, research and service here at the Elliott School. They leave an enduring legacy and will be sorely missed by colleagues and students.

And finally, I want to share a few thoughts about cultivating civil discourse in our community. In October, during Colonials Weekend, GW President Thomas LeBlanc led a Q&A session with parents, students, and alumni. He called upon the GW community to be a “role model for civil discourse.”

How do we at the Elliott School go about doing this? In the words of former United States President John F. Kennedy, “It is incumbent upon all of us to encourage a spirit of tolerance, not only from government, but from one group within the community toward another. Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather, it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.”

It is too easy to simply say that we as a school are committed to sustaining a safe and welcoming campus for all members of our community, regardless of religious belief, race, or gender identity.  

We know that the rights and welfare of all groups are fundamental values here. But how do we live that truth? I challenge each of you, in the weeks and months to come, to be deliberate in finding your own way, through action or expression, to be a role model for civil discourse. I invite you to share your experiences via the Elliott School’s social media channels.

Each day, I am reminded by how much the success of our mission depends on all of us. Thank you for the many ways you contribute to our community. I am honored to serve as your dean, and I am immensely proud of the work we do to make the world a more tolerant and peaceful place.

Warm wishes,

Dean B

Three Elliott Faculty Members Prepare to Retire

This year, the Elliott School bids farewell to three long-serving faculty members poised to retire over the coming months. The Elliott community says thank you for your extraordinary teaching and exemplary service over the years.

Students of Professor Ed McCord once gave him the affectionate moniker “Warlord McCord,” in honor of his study of China’s warlords of the early 20th century. During his 25-year career at GW, Dr. McCord, Professor of History and International Affairs, has held almost every academic position that a member of our faculty could hold – deputy chair of the history department, director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, founder and director of the Taiwan Education and Research Program, vice dean, and acting/interim dean. He also served as associate dean for every constituency at the school, guiding faculty and students, overseeing research grants, pitching in on management and planning. A tireless and dedicated member of the Elliott community, Dr. McCord was often spotted striding vigorously to his classes.






In his 40 plus years of teaching, Professor Henry R. Nau has helped to shape the lives of hundreds of Elliott students. “He had a profound influence on my professional career,” said one former student. Dr. Nau, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, has held many positions. At GW, he directed the longest-standing Congressional exchange program between Members of the U.S. Congress, the Japanese Diet, and the Korean National Assembly. For this work, the Japanese government in 2016 awarded him its Order of the Rising Sun. Dr. Nau also served as special assistant to the undersecretary for economic affairs in the U.S. Department of State and was a senior staff member on the National Security Council during the Reagan administration. He excelled at showing to students how different theories of international affairs play a decisive role in explaining debates about world affairs.






An award-winning scholar of modern military history, Professor Ronald Spector was the first civilian to become Director of Naval History and head of the Naval Historical Center. He is both a prolific author and an educator with broad scope. In his nearly 30-year career at GW, he has taught courses on U.S.-East Asia Relations, World War II, the Vietnam War, and U.S. Naval History. His book At War At Sea: Sailors and Naval Combat in the Twentieth Century (2002) received the Distinguished Book Award of the Society for Military History, and Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan (1985) won the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Prize for Naval History. “He has an awesomely dry sense of humor,” noted one of Dr. Spector’s former students. “He really knows his stuff [as] he served in Vietnam,” remarked another.


Elliott School Senior Speaks About Youth, Peacebuilding at UAE Conference

Senior Nadia Crevecoeur said she was both honored and humbled to be part of a recent conference in Abu Dhabi to share her research on how young people can support peacebuilding efforts.

Crevecoeur is set to graduate in May from the Elliott School with a B.A. in international affairs and concentration in conflict resolution. Her involvement at the Youth and Sustainable Peace conference came through her work as a senior program assistant at Women In International Security (WIIS), which helped organize the event in partnership with TRENDS Research & Advisory.

Crevecoeur said she had been helping write a policy brief at WIIS on the Youth, Peace and Security agenda when her boss asked if she could participate in the October conference. She said she was both “elated and very nervous” to join.

“I’m just extremely honored and privileged to be at that conference and to have my voice heard, and [I’m] humbled by the other speakers,” she said.  

At the event, Crevecoeur participated both as a panelist and forum participant. During the “Youth, Gender and Peace” panel, she spoke about how young women can contribute in peacebuilding efforts and how they can sometimes be left out of the decision-making process due to their age and gender.

Crevecoeur also participated in a forum with nine others, all under the age of 33, to talk about the UN Youth Strategy, Fifth Priority Peace and resilience building. She said it “was like a conversation with friends” and that they all still talk via group messaging chats.

Crevecoeur’s favorite conference memory was when she and other participants were doing a soundcheck and they were joking they should open up their own think tank.

“I thought that was really funny, and then I looked around the room and thought, “Wow! We probably could!” she said. “It was a cute memory, but it was really empowering because that was the point of the conference, to empower young people. And it was good because we looked around the room and thought, “Wait, we could actually do this.”

A first generation Haitian American, Crevecoeur grew up in Churchill, Maryland. She is the co-founding president of March On the Campus, a GW student group formed following the 2017 Women’s March, and is the president of Delta Phi Epsilon, a professional foreign service sorority.  

Elliott School Honors Life, Legacy of Swiss Diplomat Carl Lutz

More than 100 students, faculty, staff and residents joined us at the Elliott School on Tuesday, Oct. 23, to hear about the late Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz, whose bravery and tireless efforts saved the lives of 62,000 Jewish people living in Hungary during the Holocaust. Lutz has a GW connection, having received his B.A. from the Columbian College in 1924.

Lutz acted “without hesitation to help the Budapest Jewish community,” said Martin Werner Dahinden, the ambassador of Switzerland to the U.S, at the event. Lutz received his bachelor’s degree in 1924 from GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and is a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

“There is a reason why we need to remember and keep the memory of people like Carl Lutz alive,” Dahinden said. “He serves as a role model for future generations. We want to remember the heroism so that it continues unabated.”

Lutz’s rescue strategy involved issuing letters of protection that helped guarantee a Jewish person’s safety in Hungary. He negotiated with the country’s government and German regime to secure 8,000 of these letters to hand out to Jewish residents of  Hungary. He then secretly issued tens of thousands more letters than he was originally granted, which historians say was the largest civilian rescue operation of World War II.

Lutz also set up 76 safe houses in Hungary that were under Swiss protection.

The Oct. 23 event also featured remarks from Dean Reuben Brigety; Frederic Hayat of the G.I.L. Reform Jewish Community of Geneva, Switzerland; Agnes Hirschi, Lutz’s step-daughter; and Katrina Lantos Swett, the president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.

Swett said Lutz was “willing to shred the rules to do what was morally right.” She emphasized that it is important to study his story and actions to help “show the path” on what to do when faced with seemingly intractable moral challenges.

The event was sponsored by the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, Embassy of Switzerland, the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice and the Hungarian American Coalition. View our photo album from the event.

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