Cameron Munter, a former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan and Serbia, will join Pomona College’s International Relations program as a visiting professor for three years.
Munter will begin teaching at Pomona in January 2013. He will teach Managing International Crisis for the Spring 2013 semester, according to a press release published by Pomona yesterday.
Heather Williams, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Politics at Pomona, said that Munter is an exciting addition to the International Relations program.
Williams said it was important to bring in a professor who had experience working in fields relevant to international relations.
“The college has had conversations with members of the International Relations Department about a senior hire that would be intended to bring in somebody who had worked in either diplomacy, the State Department and international organizations such as the United Nations, such as the World Health Organization, because of continuing student interest in careers of that nature,” she said.
Munter delivered the Pomona commencement speech this year. He also came to Pomona to give a lecture at the Oldenborg Language Colloquium (OLC) entitled “Diplomacy and Crisis in Pakistan” Sept. 14.
It is not yet clear whether Munter will stay at Pomona beyond the three-year term, Williams said. She also said that Pomona began conversations with Munter about the possibility of Munter becoming a professor at Pomona over the summer. However, the department began looking for a professor in 2009.
“We had been looking quietly for someone who could bring those skills and that kind of experience to campus,” Williams said.
Pomona is trying to fill two positions in International Relations, including the position currently held by professor David Elliott, who will retire in May 2013. Williams said that Munter’s hiring is separate from these job searches.
“It was certainly an opportunity that presented itself to the college,” she said. “He is a very senior diplomat who was the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan at a critical time, and I think that it became possible to bring him to the college for a senior appointment, so it’s different from the track that people normally come in as tenure track hires.”
Williams added that there has been a lot of student interest in international careers and opportunities, including research grants and scholarships like the Fulbright Scholar Program. According to Williams, this makes international relations classes attractive.
Munter served as the ambassador to Pakistan during a period that included the capture of Osama bin Laden and other significant events in U.S.-Pakistani relations. As the U.S. ambassador to Serbia, Munter negotiated with Serbia when Kosovo declared its independence in 2008.
In addition, Munter taught European history at UCLA before joining the foreign service. He holds a Ph.D. in European history from Johns Hopkins University.
In Munter’s OLC speech, he discussed bilateral relations between the U.S. and Pakistan over the past four years and in the future.
“I thought it was an extraordinarily insightful and honest talk about the last four years of the U.S.-Pakistani bilateral relations,” Williams said.
Jeff Zalesin contributed reporting.