At IIE Headquarters across from the United Nations in New York, Garrick Utley, noted international journalist and Fulbright Alumnus (Germany – 1962-63 in International Relations), addressed an audience of IIE staff members from IIE’s NY and Washington offices, joined by colleagues from our regional centers across the country.
His address marks this 85th anniversary year at IIE with recognition of the far-reaching contribution of the work of the IIE. He emphasized the cumulative effect that organizations like IIE can have through decades of service. To underline this message, he related two personal accounts that illustrate succinctly the importance of international exchange, and the promise that cross-cultural education holds for the development of future leaders.
As a prominent voice in broadcast journalism, known for his focus on international affairs, Mr. Utley attributes his own early interest in international affairs to his interaction with great intellectuals and community leaders from around the globe, whom he met as visitors in his home as a child. Hosted by his mother, Frayn Utley, the long-time director of IIE’s Midwest regional center in Chicago, these were accomplished international guests of the IIE. It was this exchange that compelled him to pursue a career that has chronicled the pressing issues in international affairs for the past forty years.
Later, as a student at Carlton College in Northfield, Minnesota, Mr. Utley found a fierce rival on the soccer field in a young exchange student from Ghana. Then the recipient of a four-year scholarship to Macalester College, that rival is known today as Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. To this day, Kofi Annan attributes his intimate understanding of the United States to his four years as a student in the American heartland.
Mr. Utley reminded us that in the early months following the end of World War I, the founders of IIE had the vision to recognize the importance of creating opportunities for students throughout the world to learn to communicate and collaborate effectively with partners across the globe. He asked us all to see the enormous impact that the Institute has made over the past 85 years, and to look to the tremendous influence the work of the Institute will have in years to come.
Mr. Utley has had a distinguished career as a broadcast journalist on NBC, ABC, CNN, as well as Public Radio and Public Television. He has reported from more than seventy-five countries, and is now co-host of “America Abroad” on Public Radio, a program that examines the United States’ role and relationships in the world.
Today he is working to build a dynamic new globally minded school, as the first president of the newly established Levin Graduate Institute of International Relations and Commerce of The State University of New York. The institute will focus on foreign relations and the global economy, working with the United Nations, representatives of foreign countries, international organizations and agencies, city, state and federal governments and businesses involved in diplomatic relations.