16:54 PM

40-Year Milestone Approaches for First-of-Its-Kind CIS Program

Forever distinguished as the first program of its kind in the state of Texas, the Center for International Studies (CIS) at University of St. Thomas-Houston will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2021. Advance events to mark the four-decades milestone began with the razing of the former CIS headquarters at 4004 Yoakum. Organizers hint that subsequent events will reach their crescendo with an anniversary gala in May 2021 to celebrate the Center’s legacy.

CIS was the vision of Ann Tiller, who drove its remarkable creation. After Tiller’s untimely death, Bill Cunningham developed the program, which has continued to grow, offering coursework, research and study-abroad programs. The CIS reputation has made St. Thomas a preferred-school recruitment choice for the FBI, CIA and Department of State.

CIS Looking to the Future

The Director of CIS, Rick Sindelar, said, “From the beginning, CIS has been backed by people who believed in the education and expertise we provide. Individuals like the late Bill Cunningham have been huge and ongoing forces with their financial gifts. One of the elements we will be firming up for our anniversary is an endowment for a sustainable CIS future to reliably support the ongoing work and operating costs.”

Upcoming events include the following:

  • CIS Cyber Ethics Conference, January 29, 2021. In cooperation with the Federal Reserve-Dallas, this virtual event will acknowledge the new digital terrain within the world of diplomacy, addressing ethical practices and privacy in the cyber environment.
  • US-China-Taiwan Policy Conference (February date yet to be set). Hosted by UST, CIS will draw on the expertise and knowledge within its Taiwan-East Asia program to feature public policy presenters and discuss the hotbed of issues concerning these three countries.
  • Distinguished Diplomat Biennial Endowed Lecture, March 25, 2021, featuring U.S. Ambassador William Burns (invited). This program has traditionally been an all-day affair designed to educate and enlighten future diplomats and leaders. It typically includes a lunch with the UST president, cocktail reception and dinner. This time will be a hybrid of live streaming along with a socially distanced gathering.
  • iFest, April 15, 2021. CIS students are planning an in-person event featuring food, drinks and cultural performances from all over the world. UST’s various culture clubs will be represented in booths as well.
  • CIS 40th Anniversary Gala, May 1, 2021. An open-air space has been secured at TwentyFour25, a beautiful venue in the Galleria area, which is generously gifted for this event by its owner, alumna Azeemeh Zaheer ’05.

Celebrating With Safety in Mind

CIS Coordinator Jenny Martin ‘05 said, “CIS is going to safely celebrate our legacy and our future at the gala. We will have exceptional speakers, and our alums from all over the world will be able to participate in this hybrid event. So stay tuned for final plans.”

For in-depth information about the Center for International Studies, click here.