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Former UN bureau chief for ABC proposes APSU as logical location for new Center for the Study of Politics

December 9, 2003


Austin Peay has an enthusiastic proponent in Tom Osborne, former United Nations Bureau Chief for ABC News.

Working with Dr. David Kanervo, professor and chair of the department of political science, Osborne has volunteered to serve as campaign chair to raise $1 million for an endowed Center for the Study of Politics at APSU.
December 9, 2003


Austin Peay has an enthusiastic proponent in Tom Osborne, former United Nations Bureau Chief for ABC News.

Working with Dr. David Kanervo, professor and chair of the department of political science, Osborne has volunteered to serve as campaign chair to raise $1 million for an endowed Center for the Study of Politics at APSU.

In a letter to the Tennessee Board of Regents, Dr. Sherry Hoppe, APSU president, said that Osborne, who now lives in Tennessee Ridge, “has a strong interest in helping APSU capitalize on its strong ties with Fort Campbell through the creation of a Center for the Study of Politics.”

Historically, the nation's top leaders, including President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell, have visited the APSU campus in conjunction with visits to the troops at Fort Campbell.

In addition to citing such linkages between APSU and Fort Campbell, Kanervo says, “The study of international politics as well as domestic politics is an important mission for the University and an important part of a college education in today's volatile world.”

The Center for the Study of Politics would have four major components:

1. A scholarship program for students interested in domestic or international politics.
2. A distinguished lecturer program to bring well-known political figures to campus.
3. Opportunities for students to travel to conferences and meetings, such as Model United Nations, so they can interact with political leaders and other college students.
4. A visiting faculty program to enable faculty members to teach special courses in their areas of expertise that otherwise might not be available to students.

Osborne says, “During my career in journalism, I served 10 years as a reporter for ABC News and, subsequently, as United Nations Bureau Chief at UN Headquarters in New York. I have come to understand the critical need to better tell the story of what we, as a nation, are doing on the international stage. In the wake of the war on terrorism, this lesson has been underscored.”

Osborne indicated that helping create a Center for the Study of Politics struck him as the best way to use his years of reporting on the international scene in a constructive way.

“Such a center is not only a good idea, but one too long in coming,” he said. “The APSU population cries out for such a center because of its close ties to Fort Campbell, Ky.”

Pointing to the more than 1,000 of the 7,842 students enrolled at Austin Peay who receive veteran's benefits, Osborne said such a Center would provide a forum for dialogue between local, state, national and international leaders, both civilian and military.

Osborne discussed how war today differs from previous wars. One point he made is that rehabilitation of failed states, such as Iraq, is viewed as a key to combating terrorism.

“The aftermath of the war in Iraq demonstrates that the U.S. military is being asked to assume more of these commitments, and there are many questions about the requirements of such commitments.”

With close ties among the military, the community and the University, Osborne said there is a duty to bring latest information from national and international leaders “to this unique campus.”

“With so many of its citizens called to serve on the front lines of this war, it is a community directly affected by the decisions of these leaders,” he said.

After retiring in 2000 as Bureau Chief to the UN for ABC News, Osborne worked two years as the executive producer of the award-winning documentary “In Shifting Sands: The Truth About UNSCOM and the Disarming of Iraq.”

For more information about the proposed APSU Center for the Study of Politics, contact Osborne at (931) 721-3632 or by e-mail: tosborne@peoplestel.net or Kanervo at 7581 or by e-mail: kanervod@apsu.edu
—Dennie Burke