David Lektzian will spend one year with the Congressional Research Service.
From Fulbright Scholarships to positions with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Academy of Inventors, Texas Tech University faculty members have quite a legacy of achieving prestigious fellowships in their respective fields.
David Lektzian, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, becomes the latest in that line with his selection to an International Affairs Fellowship with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
With this fellowship, Lektzian joins the ranks of such notable names as former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice (a 1985-86 fellow) and Samantha Power, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (2000-01). The program has produced approximately 600 alumni who span the who's who of the U.S. foreign policy community, including several undersecretaries of state, U.S. ambassadors and many other influential leaders in government, academia and the private sector.
"It is a great honor to me to have been selected for a fellowship that has been held by so many distinguished scholars and policy-makers in the past," Lektzian said. "The CFR has been awarding International Affairs Fellowships since 1967, and it is not an exaggeration to say that many of the most influential scholars in the field of international relations have held this fellowship."
Lektzian will be working with the Congressional Research Service (CRS), an agency within the Library of Congress that supports legislators and their staff by providing reports on a wide range of issues. Established in 1914, the CRS has been described as Congress' think tank. Lektzian will serve in the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division of the CRS, dealing with economic sanctions and trade and military conflict.
"I think this is going to be a great experience," he said. "I feel fortunate to be at a university that values these kinds of opportunities enough to allow me to take a year of faculty development leave to move to Washington, D.C. Without Texas Tech's strong support of research and teaching opportunities for faculty across all disciplines, I would not be able to go to Washington for the year and gain this kind of experience."
Lektzian hopes to achieve two main goals during his fellowship. The first is to interact with policy-makers in a way that can inform his future research on sanctions.
"My research has focused on why states choose to use economic sanctions and what factors contribute to their success and failure. I also have looked at the consequences of sanctions for citizens in the targeted country and for the levels of trade and foreign investment in sanctioned countries," Lektzian said. "As an academic, I have extensive training in research design and empirical research methods, but have had very little opportunity to interact with the policy-makers who design and enforce our government's sanction policy. I think this will help me to ask better questions in my research and think of policy implications that might not have been evident to me before."
His second goal is to gain knowledge that will benefit his students, both as a teacher and in his role as the director of graduate studies in Political Science.
"While we generally place our students in academic jobs, my experience in Washington will give me added insight into the government job market," Lektzian said. "I also teach classes in Introduction to International Relations, War and Security, and Economic Statecraft. My experience in Washington will undoubtedly provide many substantive examples of how the foreign policy process works that I can introduce into my classrooms."
Lektzian's one-year fellowship will begin this summer.