The School of International Studies turns 25 this year, a fact that will be marked with a celebration on Saturday. Above is ap hoto taken in an SIS class.

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School of International Studies to Celebrate 25th Anniversary of Founding

by Rhashad PittmanApr 11, 2012

For a quarter century now Pacific's School of International Studies has prepared students to live and work in cultures thousands of miles from their own.

A daunting task for any school, yet the School of International Studies (SIS) has been lauded over the years for its efforts. The school's Cross-Cultural Training Program has earned world-wide recognition and serves as a national model for undergraduate programs.

To help form a global perspective, SIS students are exposed to presidents, prime ministers and Nobel laureates through the school's Gerber lecture series. Since 2001 past speakers have included Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, former Mexico President Vicente Fox and Gro Brundtland, the first woman to serve as prime minister of Norway. 

In addition to the series, each month the school's "Tuesday World Forum" provides a public forum for SIS faculty and guests to lecture on various international issues.  "The School of International Studies provides a window into the world," the School's mission states, "Through international, interdisciplinary and intercultural immersion, we prepare students to succeed in a variety of professions."

On Saturday, April 14, SIS will celebrate its efforts and success over the years by recognizing the 25th Anniversary of the school's founding. Current and former SIS students, faculty, administrators and special guests will gather at the school.

The celebration will include a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. followed by a group discussion on the development of SIS over the years and its future.  A new Peace Pole will be dedicated outside George Wilson Hall, and the Brubeck Quintet will perform music from around the world.    

The Beginnings

Established in 1987 with a gift from George and Isabelle Wilson, the School of International Studies grew out of innovative programs from two of Pacific's former cluster colleges, Callison and Elbert Covell, and the international majors offered in College of the Pacific. SIS was also funded by a grant from the Consortium for the Advancement of Private Higher Education.  

Since 2001, SIS has partnered with the Intercultural Communications Institute (ICI), which is based in Portland, Oregon, to offer a master's degree in Intercultural Relations.

The school's dynamic undergraduate program combines the study of political science, economics, history, anthropology and geography while helping develop research, analytical and communication skills, as well as intercultural competence.  Seminal courses are co-taught by faculty from different disciplines.

Students are required to take a foreign language and study abroad.  Awaiting them are local and global internships that have led to valuable experiential learning opportunities. SIS students have studied sustainable agriculture in Panama, advised foreign corporations on China's legal system, and helped develop the tourism industry in Nepal.  

The knowledge, training and experience SIS students receive prepares them for a variety of professions. Graduates have worked at global think tanks, law firms and entrepreneurial not-for-profit ventures. Others have gone on to large companies and highly regarded graduate and professional schools.   

"Long term success in any profession - law, education, business, government, or not for profit service - requires knowledge of the international realm," SIS interim dean Cynthia Wagner Weick says. "From the first course our students take, SIS emphasizes the interconnectedness of the world."

For more information about the 25th Anniversary celebration contact Kathy Hastings at

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