Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

New diplomacy and security center opens at DU

DU joined Anna and John Sie in the establishment of the SIÉ CHÉOU-KANG Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies in a festive and at times emotional dedication ceremony August 7.

Joined by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and a host of University leaders and supporters, Chancellor Robert Coombe said the Sie family’s commitment to the program and to the development of the new 5,500-square-foot annex that will house it guarantees DU’s place as a leader in international studies.

The Center bears the name of John Sie’s father, Sié Chéou-Kang, a diplomat, educator, author and playwright who spent much of his adult life in Europe forging relationships on behalf of China.

“This center is extremely important to the University of Denver, this city, the region and the world,” Coombe told a crowd of nearly 300 supporters. “If the city of Denver is to be a great, international city, then the University of Denver must be a great international university, and that is our objective.”

Both the Center and the annex constructed for it were developed through a $5 million commitment from the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation. In addition, the foundation has endowed a chair for a scholar to lead the program.

“This is an exciting day,” Hickenlooper said. “This will have a significant effect on a future generation of leaders, not just in the United States, but around the world.”

The mayor presented a proclamation declaring August 2009 “SIÉ CHÉOU-KANG Center for International Security and Diplomacy Month.”

The proclamation also recognized the Korbel School as the embodiment of internationalization and DU as a leading university in study abroad.

John Sie delivered an emotional address, recalling the important lessons he learned from his father and mother and his hope for the future of global relations.

“Today marks the opening of a building and a new commitment at the University to international security and diplomacy,” he said. “I’m simply overwhelmed.”

Sie spoke candidly about his father’s work as both a respected diplomat and as a passionate father and person. He said he learned integrity, the pursuit of excellence and selfless commitment to others from his father, and also his appreciation for art and cooking. And through his mother, Sie said he developed a moral compass that guides him today.

“Today we are here to honor my father and mother,” he said.

The SIÉ Center will provide leadership training for SIÉ Fellows, a program consisting of 10 international security specialists and diplomats that will begin in fall 2010. The center also will provide students at DU’s Korbel School a new resource for studying global security, policy and diplomacy issues.

The SIÉ addition to Cherrington Hall has many Asian design elements, including a roof of blue-glazed Asian tiles and a Japanese-style courtyard garden of rock forms focused on a magnolia tree. It was constructed using the Green Building Rating System, which focuses on the highest standards in energy conservation as developed by LEEDS — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Significant enhancements to the heating, cooling and fresh air systems in Cherrington Hall will result in no additional net use of energy when the annex is fully operational.

Watch a video of the dedication.

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