Dean of the School of Foreign Service in Qatar Gerd Nonneman will step down as dean at the end of his term in June, as announced by University President John DeGioia in an email to the Georgetown community sent Jan. 29. Senior Associate Dean of the School of Foreign Service James Reardon-Anderson will replace Nonneman and serve from July 2016 to July 2018.
Nonneman has served as the dean of SFS-Q since 2011, prior to which he served as director of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies and the Center for Gulf Studies at the University of Exeter. Nonneman also formally served as executive director of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies and is a councilmember of the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies.
He will return to the SFS-Q faculty as a professor of international relations and Gulf studies. Nonneman was unavailable for comment at press time.
DeGioia expressed his gratitude for Nonneman’s work as dean in his statement to the Georgetown community.
“During his time as dean, he increased the number of students and faculty on our GU-Q campus, supported the research of our faculty and enriched our engagement with Qatari society and culture,” DeGioia wrote in the email sent to the university community. “We are deeply grateful for the service and leadership he has provided our community, and we look forward to honoring his tenure as dean later this year.”
Reardon-Anderson, who played an instrumental role in the development of SFS-Q during his tenure as founding dean, has served as a member of the Georgetown faculty since 1985, first as director of Asian studies from 1992 to 1995 and then as director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service from 2002 to 2005. Reardon-Anderson will serve for two years rather than the standard five-year term while an international search is conducted for a future dean, according to DeGioia’s email.
Reardon-Anderson became interim SFS dean in November 2013 after Dean Carol Lancaster (SFS ’64) stepped down after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Lancaster passed away Oct. 22, 2014 at the age of 72.
Reardon-Anderson remained SFS dean until 2015 when a committee formed by DeGioia selected Joel Hellman as SFS dean.
Hellman said that although Georgetown will be losing a passionate professor, the Doha, Qatar campus will gain a dean dedicated to SFS-Q. Hellman highlighted Reardon-Anderson’s continued relationship with SFS-Q even as he remained in D.C.
“He’s been a part of SFS-Q for so many years and I think he’s really been an integral part of SFS-Q,” Hellman said. “Even over the last year, he was serving as the SFS-Q liaison here on campus. So, he’s always kept one very important foot on the ground in Qatar and Doha because that’s where, I think, his passion has been.”
Hellman predicted that despite the leadership transition, students at SFS-Q will not experience any major changes.
“Both Dean Nonneman and Dean Reardon-Anderson know the place extremely well, have been an important part of its path over the last ten years,” Hellman said. “I suspect that Dean Reardon-Anderson will continue a lot of the work that he first started when he was dean and that Dean Nonneman continued when he took over.”
Provost Robert Groves agreed that the Qatar campus is prepared for the change in administration and added that the transition will allow for new possibilities for the school.
“Deans at Georgetown are appointed for five-year terms. School administration and faculty processes are designed for rotation of deans keyed to the five-year term,” Groves wrote in an email to The Hoya. “With all the changes in deans there are opportunities for new initiatives for the school.”
Reardon-Anderson said that although personal reasons led him to leave SFS-Q, he has always felt an attachment to Doha.
“I was the first dean and I really enjoyed it,” Reardon-Anderson said. “I had to come home for personal reasons, my parents were not well, and I’ve always wanted to go back. This is an opportunity to go back so that’s why I’m going. I really like the place, I like the school, I like the kids. I’m looking forward to it.”
Reardon-Anderson went on to describe the differences between SFS-Q and SFS on the Hilltop, emphasizing the close-knit nature of the Doha community.
“The relations between the faculty and the students are much closer, I think because it’s a smaller place. The student body is much more cosmopolitan, it’s a much more international, diverse student body,” Reardon-Anderson said. “All in all, it’s a really good experience for the students that have been there.”
Office of the President Chief of Staff Joseph Ferrara expressed gratitude to both Nonneman and Reardon-Anderson.
“We are very grateful to both Gerd Nonneman for all he has done to lead our Doha campus since 2011, and to Jim Reardon-Anderson for agreeing to serve as our new dean there, starting this July,” Ferrara wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Hellman stressed the importance of Nonneman’s legacy at SFS-Q.
“I think that Dean Nonneman did a really fabulous job in Doha and I think that we all really appreciate all of the effort, enthusiasm, dynamism he brought to SFS-Q,” Hellman said.
Hellman emphasized Nonneman’s passion for scholarship, a field to which he is returning.
“I understand his desire to go back to teaching and research because he was and remains a really strong scholar of the Middle East,” Hellman said. “That’s why we were so excited to recruit him to SFS-Q. So, he’s going back to his scholarship and I’m sure that he’s going to continue to play a really big role in SFS-Q as a senior faculty member and as an important scholar in that area. We really do appreciate all the work that he did.”