Decades before the official history began to be logged on the time line, dedicated, visionary faculty and administrators moulded proposals for courses and programs—often compromising what they wanted with what the budget would support. Two decades of official Kennedy Center history has now passed, and the center has recently been given administrative support to ensure its continued progress. “We’ve established a structure that rewards faculty for their service as coordinators here,’” explained Director Jeffrey F. Ringer. “And we have confidence that the department chairs and deans are committed to supporting their faculty to participate in, and oversee, our programs.”
Academic programs have come and gone as witnessed by the time line. The four current programs: international relations, Asian studies, Latin American studies, and Middle East studies/Arabic, are strong and Ringer is “looking forward to future curriculum development, perhaps in the areas of Ancient Near Eastern studies and international development.”
This anniversary has sparked a period of reflection and charged those at the center with optimism for what the future holds. And the anniversary date providentially coincided with International Education Week (IEW), sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Education. IEW was established in 2000, and the Kennedy Center became involved for the first time in 2002. “Rather than a semester-long anniversary celebration, we made the decision to connect it with the annual International Education Week, and I think it’s a very nice fit,” Ringer affirmed. “We planned a series of events with guest speakers and student activities, all culminating with our anniversary dinner and celebration in Salt Lake with the Kennedy family.