Director

Wendy Leeds-HurwitzWendy Leeds-Hurwitz
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

I spent most of my academic career within the Communication Department at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, rising from Assistant Professor to Professor, and retiring as Professor Emerita in 2010. In addition, I served as the 2013-14 Harron Family Endowed Chair in Communication at Villanova University.

2009 was a transformative year for me. I spent 5 months as Senior Fellow at the Collegium de Lyon, an institute for advanced study in Lyon, France, and also organized the National Communication Association Summer Conference on Intercultural Dialogue, held at Maltepe University in Istanbul, Turkey, July 22-26. The first experience showed me just how well-connected European scholars are with the rest of the world, especially when compared to US scholars. In Europe, not just senior faculty, but even graduate students connect frequently with significant numbers of international peers, meeting regularly, and collaborating on research projects. The second experience made it clear how little it takes to get even US scholars who have never traveled abroad to take that first trip and make their own connections. We distributed $5000 in small grants of $250, $500, or $750 to a total of 10 scholars at different stages of their careers, and they were able to leverage these amounts with matching grants from their own universities into enough to cover major expenses.

At the end of the Istanbul conference, the group discussed followup activities. Others took on the responsibility of preparing a journal special issue, a preconference, and a book. I agreed to find a way to fund small grants for cultural research, and expand opportunities for international collaborative research projects. With help from others at the conference, I put together a proposal to the Council of Communication Associations, and that group approved the establishment of this Center under their auspices in March 2010. Basic documents setting up the Center and the first Advisory Board members were approved at their board meeting in September 2010. In 2013 my term as Director was renewed for another 3 years.

See Director’s activities sum for a single page with links to all my activities, and Director’s activities posts for the descriptions of stops in various cities and conversations with individual scholars. For more information about me, see my CV (November 2014). For more information about the Council or the Center’s Advisory Board, see Who we are. For contact information, see Contact.