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Speaker previews Keough School of Global Affairs

| Monday, September 26, 2016

Notre Dame is doing something it has not done in almost a century: adding a new school.

The Keough School of Global Affairs will join the Mendoza College of Business, the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Science, the College of Engineering, the School of Architecture and the Notre Dame graduate schools in August of 2017 under the leadership of its dean, Scott Appleby. The Keough School will offer degrees for both graduates and undergraduates, with a focus on global issues and international concerns.

On Friday, as the rest of Notre Dame’s campus prepared for game day, Appleby delivered a presentation in the Eck Visitors Center about the new school and its mission.

Appleby started his presentation by asking a simple question: “What are the world’s biggest problems?”

The question warranted a wide variety of answers from the audience — from sustainability and access to proper healthcare and education to the refugee crisis. Appleby said these are among the problems the Keough School aims to study and address.

Appleby said the Keough School hopes to address these issues in a number of ways, quoting an individual he met at a Notre Dame home football game.

“So what you’re doing is you’re planting seeds … that are going to blossom with Notre Dame’s brand on them for generations,” he said. Appleby added he hopes graduates of the Keough School will go on to work in government, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and humanitarian groups.

“What we want to get right, among everything else, is helping to educate and train these brilliant young people, both who are undergrads and graduate students, who will go out into the world,” he said. “We want them to be leaders, people of influence in these areas.”

To accomplish this, Appleby said the Keough School and its faculty and students must think about the problems that affect the world today in a wholly interconnected way. One cannot worry about global health or lifting a community out of poverty without taking into consideration the environment and other major problems that these communities face, he added.

Appleby said Notre Dame’s school of global affairs will set itself apart by focusing on one primary goal: “integral human development.”

The use of the term “integral human development” stems from the fact that “we are a Catholic university, and it comes out of Catholic Social Tradition and it’s our heritage,” Appleby said. It’s a term that was first used by Pope Paul VI in 1967 in his papal encyclical, “Populorum Progressio”, which focused on the development of peoples.

Ultimately, what Notre Dame hopes to accomplish, Appleby said, is to address the problems that plague human society today with human life and human dignity at the center.

“The human person, who has an innate dignity given by God, is not just an economic creature or a technical creature,” he said.

While there’s certainly a need for economists and engineers and technicians in today’s society, Appleby said it’s important to remember that each “human person is also religious, spiritual, cultural [and] a member of a family.”

The Keough School will strive to have its graduates “understand the context in which they will be working,” Appleby said.

He said he hopes its graduates will understand the material aspects of the places in which they work. But more importantly, he said the Keough School will teach its graduates to also understand the culture, language and ethics of the people with whom they are working.

“We’re drawing on our Catholic understanding to try to contribute to this conversation solutions that are sustainable and smart because they’re ethical and culturally attuned,” he said.

The Keough School of Global Affairs will be in partnership with many of the other schools and colleges that Notre Dame offers, particularly the College of Arts and Letters. It will open its doors in the fall of 2017 in the new Jenkins Hall, being built on Notre Dame Avenue.

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