Mr. Levinger Goes to Washington
“Academia and activism are part of my personal chemistry,” says Matthew Levinger, associate professor of history. From January 2003 to January 2004, he was able to pursue both his passions as a William C. Foster fellow at the U.S. department of State.
Levinger spent the first half of the year working at the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, which provides policy direction in the areas of international security, military coordination and peace operations, and arms trade. He worked on developing “confidence-building measures,” or agreements to promote cooperation and collaboration, for the states of central Africa.
During the second half of the year, Levinger worked as a senior intelligence analyst in the War Crimes and Atrocities Analysis Division, housed within the State Department’s Bureau of intelligence and Research. In addition to having access to what he calls “highly classified national security information,” he organized a series of well-attended conferences on strategies for preventing atrocities.
“On balance, my experiences in Washington left me more optimistic than I had been before about the capacity of individuals to stimulate change within complex bureaucracies,” says Levinger. “I learned the value of having patience and being willing to work incrementally.”
Drawing upon his experiences as a Foster fellow, Levinger hopes to establish an annual International Policy Workshop at Lewis & Clark. The seminars would be designed for midcareer professionals from government, business, academia, journalism, and nongovernmental organizations from the United States and overseas. “I’d like to create a forum for developing new approaches to the challenges of globalization,” says Levinger.