Bussel Family International Lecture Series Inaugurated
Posted 10/21/2013 04:54PM

To help promote Loomis Chaffee’s commitment, as stated in the Mission Statement, to “educating students for service in the nation and in today’s global civilization,” Trustee John Bussel ’87; his mother, Ann B. Bussel; and his sister, Deborah Bussel; recently established the Bussel Family International Lecture Series.

As John explains: “The series is intended to bring experts in international relations, diplomacy, international economics and business, human rights, and the environment who come from the United States and throughout the world to Loomis Chaffee to inform and engage students, faculty, parents, as well as members of the local community, on issues that impact both our nation and nations around the globe.”

John invited his friend and fellow Trustee Nancy Walbridge Collins ’91 to be the inaugural lecturer in the series, and her presentation, “Utility of Strategic Force,” drew an interested audience of Trustees, students, faculty, and guests to the Hoffman Ensemble Room of the Hubbard Music Center on Friday evening, October 18.

Nancy teaches international affairs and security studies at Columbia University. She is a research fellow with the University’s Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War & Peace Studies as well as co-chair of the Columbia Seminar on Defense and Security. Her essays and commentaries appear in scholarly journals, including the Journal of Contemporary History and German Studies Review; and media outlets, including CNN, Forbes, The New York Times, TIME, and U.S. News and World Report. She serves on the U.S. Commission on Military History and is a member of the Atlantic Council, Council on Foreign Relations, and Intelligence and National Security Alliance. Nancy is a juror of the Adams-Pendleton Prize Board, an annual award for the best book on U.S. military, diplomatic, and federal issues. She is an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Defense. Nancy earned her bachelor’s degree in government from Georgetown University and her master’s degree and Ph.D. in history from the University of London, where she was named the Thornley Fellow, an international prize. She has been awarded fellowships and grants from, among others, the University of Chicago, U.S. Congress, Harvard University, Rockefeller Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Yale University.

In her inaugural Bussel Family International Lecture Series presentation, Nancy showed a number of video clips and reviewed major global terrorist threats and actions the United States has faced going back to the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics of 1972, the Iran hostage crisis 1979–81, the 1983 Beirut U.S. Marine barracks bombing, and the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu “Black Hawk Down” debacle in Somalia — as well as ongoing concerns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. She told of her service as an advisor to the Department of Defense, with particular emphasis on military Special Operations. She raised disturbing questions regarding the inutility of conventional military forces against the threat of terrorism and expressed her view that the United States lacks a coherent consensus on effective ways to combat terrorist threats. “Classic models aren’t going to work going forward,” she stated. Following her remarks, Nancy addressed a number of questions from the audience.

Nancy credits Loomis with sparking interests that led to her career: “Loomis Chaffee transformed my outlook on international affairs as a student in the late ’80s and early ’90s, with our contemporary discussions ranging from the Velvet Revolution to the repeal of Apartheid Act No. 49 to Operation Desert Storm. Our seminars concentrated on analysis of these political upheavals and served as the catalyst for my engagement in security studies. My teachers, classmates, and the school community at large set me on this course of academic study and inspired me to dedicate myself to matters of war and peace, a subject to which I remain deeply committed. It is an honor and pleasure to discuss some of these experiences with Loomis Chaffee students as part of the Bussel Family International Lecture Series.”  

Future presenters in the Bussel Family International Lecture Series will be selected by Alexander McCandless, director of the school’s Center for Global Studies. He writes: “The mission of the Center for Global Studies is to promote a course of academic study, extracurricular involvement, and travel experience that will develop in our students interest in, understanding of, and engagement with the peoples, cultures, and regions of the world, along with the skills to become leaders in it. The center assists individual departments in bringing the skills and content of each discipline to bear in helping students gain and value such interest, understanding, and engagement as important to interpersonal as well as international relations, solving current national and transnational problems, and preventing future conflict — a ‘commitment to the best self and the common good.’ The Bussel Family International Lecture Fund will directly support this work in bringing speakers to campus to present on topics of international affairs. In addition, the Fund encourages the school to engage with the larger Hartford and regional community by inviting guests from other schools, colleges, and universities to attend these lectures. 

John Bussel adds: “Thanks to the creation of the Center for Global Studies, this series will be stewarded by its director, Alec McCandless, and his team who are dedicated to enhancing our students’ understanding of the world’s peoples and cultures and the issues that affect us all. The Bussel family is very excited and honored about its role in providing the funding needed to bring these speakers to the Island, and we are thrilled that the inaugural speaker was our own Nancy Collins, one of the country’s leading authorities in international relations.”