Training Global Thinkers
Since he started teaching at Fordham in 1970, John Entelis
, Ph.D., professor of political science, has done a great deal to help the University fulfill its mission of helping students understand world issues beyond the classroom. During his tenure, he created two interdisciplinary majors at Fordham: the undergraduate Middle East Studies program and the
International Political Economy and Development (IPED) program at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).
Though both of these programs are very popular with Fordham students, the IPED program especially has developed a global reputation.
“When we founded IPED, we felt that, for too long, there had been an artificial division between political science, economics and sociology,” said Entelis. “Increasingly we saw that issues were not being fully understood by simply pursuing these disciplinary divisions. So my economics colleague Gene Diulio and I met with the Department of Education in Washington, got funding, retooled the faculty and created new courses.”
Since its founding in 1979, IPED has trained students to work with nongovernment organizations, governments, charities—and everything in between. Students in the IPED program, according to Entelis, are not only bright and dedicated, but highly motivated in their desire to make a positive difference in this world.
“They are actively involved in local and global issues,” he said, “because GSAS draws students who already have a certain
level of experience of exposure to international issues.
“One of the strengths of the IPED program is that it is not specifically focused on one region or another of the world but
rather seeks to have students develop methodological, analytical and conceptual skills that then can be applied to any world region. They can thus contextualize any global issue within a solid analytical framework.”
Entelis’ area of expertise is North Africa, a historically overlooked region in the field of Middle East studies. Since the Arab Spring, however, Entelis, editor of the Journal of North African Studies, has been in high demand. But he still makes sure he has time for his current and former students, many of whom stay in touch with their former professor long after graduation.
“I gain a great deal of personal and professional satisfaction when I see students being enthusiastic about their field of work,” he said. “What is particularly rewarding is to have former students tell you how much a professor’s guidance and encouragement has made a difference in their professional choices.”
One such student is Kamal Y. Azari, GSAS ’88, who wrote his doctoral dissertation under Entelis’ direction and remains actively involved in Iranian politics today. On March 30, Entelis, who is currently working on a book about the Arab Spring, will reunite with his former student at the Spring Gannon Lecture on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus. He and Azari will lead a discussion of the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa with the Fordham community, a community that is well-informed about world affairs and conscious about the need to find solutions to global problems.