Texas Tech Announces Creation of New Institute for Peace and Conflict
Texas Tech University announced today (April 25) the creation of its new Institute for Peace and Conflict (IPAC).
The institute pulls together Texas Tech's world renowned Vietnam Center & Archive, the graduate certificate in strategic studies directed by Col. Dave Lewis, the Army and Air Force ROTC programs and the newly created Archive of Modern American Warfare, which deals with all wars since 1975, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We've always said if you want to do research on the Vietnam War, this is the place to come," said Ron Milam, IPAC's interim executive director. "You get to walk across the street to the largest Vietnam War archive in the world. But now, it goes even further than that because we have all these other academic pieces as part of this umbrella. Part of our focus is to be the place to come to study issues associated with terrorism, insurgency and counterinsurgency. Both Col. Lewis and myself teach courses in that; now we have a place to actually do the research and bring it home. It's not just about Vietnam; it's about all warfare."
Ambassador Tibor Nagy, the vice provost for international affairs at Texas Tech, has been one of the faculty members heavily involved in the creation of IPAC and will serve as its ambassador in residence.
"The world's current geopolitical challenges are among the most serious ever," Nagy said. "Just as the world is transitioning from the post-World War II American established global order, we have a great need for scholarship to analyze, evaluate and explain the processes at work and to prepare foreign affairs professionals who will be working in this environment. IPAC is being created at an ideal time so that Texas Tech can be among a select few institutions that can contribute to the study of contemporary conflict and resolution – the forces bringing on the new world order – and in developing the professional tools the U.S. will need to achieve our global objectives."
Milam said the events of the last 13 years have brought the issues of peace and conflict to the forefront of American society. The popularity of these issues has caused many universities to attempt to create something like IPAC, but Texas Tech has a leg up on its competition.
"What we have here at Texas Tech that no other institute like it has is the world-renowned Vietnam Center & Archive as a platform from which to build everything we're trying to do in describing and understanding peace and conflict in the world," he said. "They're all trying to figure out ways to have what we have. They're even doing things like starting oral history programs as Vietnam veterans are getting older and talking. We've been doing that now for 25 years. Nobody does what we do – that's what makes us unique."
The Vietnam Center & Archive was previously housed in the College of Arts & Sciences before becoming its own independent entity. Milam said the decision to move it back into the college under the IPAC umbrella gives it an academic home, allowing it to focus on students, research and scholarship.
"With both the Department of History and the Department of Political Science already in the College of Arts & Sciences, it only makes sense to have IPAC here as well," said dean W. Brent Lindquist. "Having IPAC within the college benefits us both. IPAC gains the support of Texas Tech's largest college, and Arts & Sciences gains a very high-profile partner in the educational opportunities we can offer our students."
In addition to Milam and Nagy, other faculty members instrumental in IPAC's creation are:
- Steve Maxner, director of the Vietnam Center & Archive
- Lewis, director of graduate certificate in strategic studies
- Justin Hart, associate chair of the Department of History and senior fellow of academic programs
"Texas Tech has already established itself as the preeminent place to study the Vietnam War; now we want to look toward the future and establish it as the place to study not only conflict but the resolution of conflict," Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec said. "With the quality of scholars and resources we have available here, we are in a prime position to do that. The creation of IPAC serves as a major step in that direction."
The institute will host its first major conference this week. "1967: The Search for Peace," scheduled for Friday and Saturday (April 28-29), commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and focuses on the issues associated with bringing it to an end.