Middle East Scholar Named University Professor

Michael Barnett currently holds a chair of international relations at the University of Minnesota.
June 02, 2010

Michael Barnett, a renowned scholar whose specialties include the Middle East, humanitarianism, international affairs and international organizations, has been named university professor of international affairs and political science. Dr. Barnett will assume his new position in August.

Most recently, Dr. Barnett served as the Harold Stassen Chair of International Relations and professor of political science at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He has previously taught at universities in Geneva, Jerusalem, Massachusetts, New York, Tel Aviv and Wisconsin.

“I am looking forward very much to becoming part of a vibrant community of international relations scholars and practitioners, and joining one of the best programs in international relations in the country,” says Dr. Barnett.

In particular, Dr. Barnett says he is looking forward to working with Marc Lynch, director of GW’s Institute for Middle East Studies, and Nathan Brown, professor of political science and international affairs, at the Elliott School of International Affairs.

As a university professor, Dr. Barnett, who has conducted field research in Egypt, El Salvador, Israel, Jordan and Liberia, is appointed with tenure. A university professorship is GW’s highest ranking academic honor, which recognizes outstanding scholarship and is approved by the Board of Trustees. Dr. Barnett, who is one of eight university professors at GW, is filling the position previously held by Harry Harding, former dean of the Elliott School.

This is not the first time that Dr. Barnett will be collaborating with GW colleagues.

He and Martha Finnemore, director of GW’s graduate program in political science, co-authored the book Rules for the World: International Organizations in Global Politics, which won the International Studies Association’s prize for best book in 2006. The two also co-wrote a 1999 paper “The Politics, Power and Pathologies of International Organizations” published in the journal International Organization and an essay in The Oxford Handbook of the United Nations.

Dr. Barnett’s articles have also been required reading in several GW courses, including Elizabeth Saunders’ course Military Intervention (spring 2009), Dr. Lynch’s International Relations of Middle East (fall 2009) and United States Foreign Policy in the Persian Gulf (spring 2010), taught by Amb. Edward “Skip” Gnehm, B.A. ’66, M.A. ’68.

On Jan. 31, 2008, Dr. Barnett delivered the paper “Humanitarianism in a World of Hurt” as part of a research seminar at GW’s Institute for Global and International Studies.

“Mike Barnett is a global figure in his field,” said Donald R. Lehman, executive vice president for academic affairs. “We are extremely pleased to have such a person working with our students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. I look forward to his evolving efforts to promote interest in the study of humanitarian governance at GW.”

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