Professor, a former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, has special expertise in peacekeeping

Professor Elisabeth Lindenmayer, a former assistant secretary general of the United Nations with special expertise in peacekeeping, has been named as the director of SIPA’s specialization in International Organizations and UN Studies (IO/UN). Lindenmayer, who was the founding director of the track in UN Studies within IO/UN, was selected following a national search to replace Dirk Salomons, who retired as the IO/UN director at the end of 2015.

Lindenmayer, who also holds the position of lecturer in international and public affairs, joined SIPA in 2009 as an adjunct professor. She has taught classes on subjects including the UN Security Council and peacekeeping and peace building in Africa and advised multiple Capstone teams. In 2010 Lindenmayer won the Teacher of the Year award at SIPA and in 2012 led a team of students to North Korea in the first such trip sponsored by a U.S. university.

Lindenmayer told SIPA News that she plans to survey IO/UN students in order to help plan the direction of the specialization in the months ahead.

“Students choose the specialization for different reasons,” she said. “I need to understand where the interest comes from so we can better fulfill their expectations.”

It is a promising time to study international organizations, Lindenmayer explained, because the United Nations, World Bank, and other multilateral institutions are moving toward closer integration to deal with interconnected global challenges. The major international organizations need to break their silos, she added, and move from fragmentation to synergy  and partnership.

To implement international programs like the Sustainable Development Goals and COP21 protocols on climate change, and to address challenges like the refugee crisis of recent years, will require multiple organizations to work together, she observed—otherwise we will fail the people we are mandated to help.

“It’s not so easy to have a structure that reflects the world we live in today, but the international system simply has to evolve,” Lindenmayer said. “I want the IO/UN specialization to be part of that story and evolution.”

Read about SIPA’s specialization in International Organizations and UN Studies