Scholars from across the University joined students, alumni, and friends last week at a dinner, dance, and symposium to celebrate the dedication of the Center for International Affairs for Albert J. Weatherhead III '50 and Celia J. Weatherhead and to envision and explore international affairs in the next century.
"We face a moment of transformative changes in the international arena, with far-reaching implications for our international agenda at Harvard," said President Neil L. Rudenstine, who spoke at the celebratory dinner last Wednesday night as well as a Thursday ceremony unveiling the Weatherhead Center plaque. "Al and Celia Weatherhead have an unusually deep appreciation of the nature of those changes, and a powerful commitment to helping Harvard sustain and extend its role in understanding them.
"The Weatherheads' leadership and generosity represents human and intellectual vision at its best," Rudenstine added. "It is far-sighted, imaginative, and yet so accurate as to be precisely on target. We are moved by this extraordinary gift, and also by the steady strong support of the Weatherhead family and the Weatherhead Foundation through successive generations."
The Weatherheads and the Weatherhead Foundation last year gave Harvard $21 million to strengthen, expand, and endow international studies.
"I believe it is better to give than to receive and that is why Celia and I are here today," said Al Weatherhead. "The world is awash in conflicts but they need not generate more warfare, bitterness, and hatred. There is a peaceful way of settlement. With today's symposium and the dedication of the Center, we have only just commenced -- we still have a long way to go. Harvard must be at the forefront of increasing understanding among nations and regions, and within the international community."
Weatherhead, who with his family and foundation previously established three professorships at Harvard, is the owner of the Cleveland-based Weatherhead Industries, whose subsidiary, Weatherchem Corporation, specializes in molded plastic closures for the consumer product industry. Celia Weatherhead, a graduate of Tulane University, is active in community affairs in Cleveland.
Visualizing the World in 2015
Provost Harvey V. Fineberg and Richard N. Cooper, Maurits C. Boas Professor of International Economics, led off the symposium "Thinking About the 21st Century."
"We have an opportunity to explore many of the most pressing global concerns as we try to secure a safer, healthier, and more prosperous world," noted Provost Fineberg. "The Weatherhead Center has a strong tradition of thinking about things with a global -- not just a national or regional -- perspective. Thus, the Center provides a valuable contribution not only to us here at Harvard but also -- and ideally -- to leaders, thinkers, and decision-makers in this country and in countries around the world."
Professor Cooper then examined how demographics, the increase in per capita income, and technological change as it affects communications and transportation will influence the world between now and 2015. He predicted more "South Koreas" -- countries that grow rapidly, democratize, and join the community of rich nations; more "Iraqs" -- countries whose dictatorial leaders pursue aggressive actions; the reassertion of religious, ethnic, and tribal differences; increased migration of people, and mobility of enterprise; and the "beginning of the end of the Westphalian state system as we know it."
In nine morning and afternoon panel discussion groups, the participants then analyzed and debated issues ranging from "The Future of International Institutions" to "Managing the World's Trading Systems," "Meeting Changing Security Threats," and "Challenges Facing International Public Health."
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Jeremy R. Knowles addressed the group at a lunch: "Al and Celia saw in the Center for International Affairs not just a record of accomplishment but also an exciting opportunity and the seeds of future greatness. Now we must seize the opportunity to grapple with mighty problems: the functioning of global markets, the process of democratization, the importance of civic engagement, and the fate of racially and ethnically divided societies."
Reflecting on the occasion, Jorge I. Domínguez, director of the Weatherhead Center and Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs, said: "A University, and especially an endowment, is a commitment that looks forward in time. Al and Celia Weatherhead enable us, and generations to come, to advance the University's research and teaching mission on international affairs into the new millennium. I hope that the Center will be able to fulfill the promise we have made to Al and Celia, namely, that the Center will be dedicated to the development of fundamental research, pertinent to the tasks that citizens and decision-makers face everywhere."
Copyright 1998 President and Fellows of Harvard College