James Wertsch


David R. Francis Distinguished Professor

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Wertsch is the David R. Francis Distinguished Professor, professor of sociocultural anthropology and professor of international and area studies. Wertsch’s topics of study are collective memory and identity, especially in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union, as well as in the United States and China. He also is the director emeritus of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy and previous Vice Chancellor for International Affairs.

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Transitions on Washington University’s global team

Transitions on Washington University’s global team

James Wertsch, vice chancellor for international relations, director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy and the David R. Francis Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences, has announced his plan to conclude his tenure as vice chancellor July 1, 2018, and from his director role at the end of the calendar year.

Gelberman, Wertsch to receive 2013 faculty achievement awards

Richard H. Gelberman, MD, a world-renowned expert in hand and wrist microsurgery, and James V. Wertsch, PhD, founding director of one of the most successful and innovative global scholarship programs in the world, will receive Washington University’s 2013 faculty achievement awards, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton announced. They will receive their awards and give presentations of their scholarly work during a Dec. 7 program.

All eyes on Secretary Chu

On a recent visit to Washington, D.C., graduate and professional students of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy had the opportunity to hear from and meet with outgoing U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.

Insights From Ghana: Day 2

This week, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton travels to Ghana to meet with officials from the University of Ghana and sign official papers making the university the 28th partner — and the first in Africa — in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

Cabot-Zhang Lecture explores leadership in China

On Tuesday, Oct. 9, the inaugural Cabot Corporation – Xinsheng Zhang Lecture was held in Steinberg Auditorium. The Cabot Corporation-Xinsheng Zhang Lectureship Series was created in 2011 and offers the university community opportunities to learn about issues of global leadership, particularly in China.

McDonnell Academy welcomes 16 new scholars from across the world

The McDonnell International Scholars Academy at Washington University in St. Louis welcomed 16 new graduate and professional students from 11 partner institutions worldwide for the 2012-13 academic year. Admitted into the McDonnell Academy for the first time in 2012 were two scholars from the United States.

McDonnell Academy welcomes 12 new scholars from around the world

The McDonnell International Scholars Academy at Washington University in St. Louis welcomed 12 new talented graduate and professional students for the 2011-12 academic year. The new scholars are graduates of one of 27 premier universities from around the world partnered with WUSTL in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

WUSTL joins UN Academic Impact

Washington University in St. Louis has joined 600-plus universities in more than 100 countries as a member of United Nations Academic Impact. Academic Impact seeks to create a better world by engaging academia and fostering a culture of shared intellectual social responsibility.

McDonnell Scholars stamp ‘Planet Passport’

Graduate and professional students within the McDonnell International Scholars Academy at Washington University in St. Louis shared their respective cultures with the general public Nov. 19 in an interactive fair at the Saint Louis Science Center. During “Planet Passport: Your Journey to Our Multicultural World,” scholars showcased the language, dress, history, government, educational systems and technology innovations of more than 15 cultures.

McDonnell Scholars to present cultures from around the world at Saint Louis Science Center

Graduate and professional students within the McDonnell International Scholars Academy are sharing their respective cultures with the general public in an interactive fair at the Saint Louis Science Center. The program, “Planet Passport: Your Journey to Our Multicultural World,” will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, in the center’s May Hall on the ground floor. Free and open to the public, the hands-on learning fair is suitable for children, teens and families.

Taiwanese students can pursue PhDs at WUSTL through new partnership

Up to five PhD students from Taiwan per year will receive full-tuition and living stipend scholarships to attend Washington University because of a recent agreement signed between WUSTL and Taiwan’s Ministry of Education. Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and Tony W.T. Lin, director general of the ministry’s Bureau of International Cultural and Educational Relations, signed a memorandum of understanding during a ceremony June 24 in Taipei City.

Obama’s Russian meeting may have opened a new chapter in U.S./Russian relations

President Barack Obama met this week with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitri Medvedev. While the two sides did not see eye-to-eye on all topics, they did mutually agree to dispose of 34 tons each of weapons-grade plutonium, an initiative started in the 1990s and never completed. It’s a step in the right direction, says an expert on Russian identity at Washington University in St. Louis.

WUSTL professors offer analysis on election night

Election night media coverage will feature three professors from Washington University on KETC-TV, Channel 9. The professors will be among local political experts and citizens invited to participate in the station’s multimedia collaboration with the St. Louis Beacon, an online journal.

Russia views U.S. missile defense in Poland as antagonistic, says expert

James WertschRussia’s leaders and its population tend to view current developments in Poland through the lens of a basic Russian national narrative that focuses on Russia as a target of invasion by foreign enemies, claims James V. Wertsch, an expert on post-Soviet democracy movements at Washington University in St. Louis. Wertsch was interviewed on this subject and on the Georgia/Russian conflict recently on KMOX radio. The interview is available here.

Universities must tackle global energy, environmental woes, says international call to action

Proclaiming that “energy and environmental issues represent the greatest challenges of this century,” Washington University Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton today joined presidents of six other premier research universities in calling for universities worldwide to marshal their resources for a global effort to secure a brighter, sustainable future. Plans for collaborative academic programs involving education, research, university operations, social sciences and policy studies are detailed in a statement issued May 7.

WUSTL chancellor announces a call to action for research universities worldwide

Washington University Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton will announce a call to action for research universities worldwide to focus on the energy and environment as the greatest challenge of this century. The announcement, which comes as part of a conference involving the presidents of 12 premier research universities from Asia and the Middle East, will be made at noon May 7 in Whitaker Hall Auditorium, Washington University’s Danforth Campus.

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For the first time in the United States, the presidents of 12 premier research universities from around the world will gather at Washington University in St. Louis to discuss ways their institutions are addressing global energy and environmental concerns. From Israel and Turkey in the Middle East, and in Asia from Korea in the north, Indonesia in the south, Japan to the east and India to the west, 20 major research universities have joined Washington University in a partnership — the McDonnell International Scholars Academy — to build cooperation and understanding among people and institutions of the world.

Boris Yeltsin dies

Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin dies April 23 at the age of 76. James V. Wertsch, Ph.D., the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences and expert on Russia’s transition from the Soviet to post-Soviet era, says that Yeltsin will be remembered for his important role in Russian history.

Presidents of 12 premier universities in Asia and Middle East to gather at WUSTL May 4-7 to discuss global energy and environment

For the first time in the United States, the presidents of 12 premier universities from Asia and the Middle East will gather at Washington University in St. Louis May 4-7 to discuss ways their institutions are addressing global energy and environmental concerns. The International Symposium on Energy and Environment is sponsored by Washington University’s McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

University of Tokyo graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

Ryotaro Kato, M.D., has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. He holds a medical degree from the University of Tokyo, which is one of 16 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, along with two leading research institutions in Israel and two in Turkey.

National University of Singapore graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

An-Chun Chien, the daughter of Cynthia Chien-Lan Mo and Mark Mu-Min Chien of Singapore, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the National University of Singapore, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

NTU graduate wins prestigious American fellowship

Wei-Jen Chua, the daughter of Hsiang-Mei Amy Lu and Tony Chua of Taipei, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from National Taiwan University, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

IIT graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

Vikram Govindan, the son of Santhini and K.M. Govindan of Mumbai, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis, and he has received the Monsanto/Dr. Norman Borlaug Corporate Fellowship. He holds a dual bachelor’s and master’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

Yonsei University graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

Woosung Kim, the son of Weijen Park and the late Kim Kynseung, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Yonsei University, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

Fudan University graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

Zhou LiZhou Li, the son of Fengluan Zhou and Yuhua Li of Wenzhou, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis, and he has received a corporate fellowship from Corning Inc. He holds a bachelor’s degree in science from Fudan University, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

University of Hong Kong graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

Qing Nian, the daughter of Liu Feng and Nian Wanhong, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. She holds a law degree from the University of Hong Kong, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

Seoul National University graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

Hong Min Park, the son of Tae-Yul Park and Chae-Hun Cho of Pusan, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and master’s degree in political science from Seoul National University, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

Korea University graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

Hyun Cheol Roh, the son of Ki Nam Kim and Hee Nam Roh of Seoul, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in biochemistry from Korea University, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

Indian Institute of Technology graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

Monoranjan Sahu, the son of Niasha Sahu and Kalandi Charan Sahu of Orissa, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis, and he has received a corporate fellowship from Engineering and Environmental Research Group of Ames, Iowa, U.S.A. He holds a master of technology degree in Environmental Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

Chulalongkorn University graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

Karavikar SvetasreniKaravikar Svetasreni, the daughter of Kannikar Svetasreni and Suraphon Svetasreni of Bangkok, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis, and she has received a corporate fellowship from the Nestlé Purina PetCare Co. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, international relations from Chulalongkorn University, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

Peking University graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

Yanjiao Xie, the son of Zhijun Li and Gongming Xie of Beijing, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Peking University, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

Chinese University of Hong Kong graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

Juanyi YuJuanyi Yu, the daughter of Yuejian Gao and Zhan Yu of Zhejiang, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. She holds a bachelor’s degree in information engineering from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy. She also participated in a summer study program at the University of California, Berkeley.

Peking graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

Ziyan Zhang, the daughter of Xiaoli Ma and Ning Zhang of Beijing, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis, and she has received a corporate fellowship from Tyco Healthcare/Mallinckrodt. She holds a bachelor of science degree from Peking University, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

Tsinghua University graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

Ming Zu, the daughter of Lan-Ru Hao and Guo-Cheng Zu of Harbin, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis, and she has received a corporate fellowship from the Cabot Corporation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering from Tsinghua University, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

America has big stake in supporting democracy in former Soviet Republic of Georgia, suggest international studies expert

As Americans celebrate independence this July 4, they may wish to consider the plight of another democracy – one that is young and struggling and whose continued success could have a dramatic impact on the world economy, the price of gasoline and other critical U.S. interests. James V. Wertsch, director of International and Area Studies at Washington University in St. Louis suggests that America needs to pay attention to developments in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia for its own sake, and for the sake of the rest of the world.

Flashbulb memories of JFK’s assassination may not be so accurate

Photo courtesy of Library of CongressRemembering Nov. 22, 1963.On Nov. 22, 2003, the nation will mark the 40th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. The 1963 event was so surprising and traumatic, that many people who were alive that day claim they can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. However, an expert in collective memory at Washington University in St. Louis claims those memories may not be as accurate as people think.

New York Times’ Thomas Friedman to open ‘Conversations’ series

FriedmanSome of the nation’s top scholars will gather in the coming academic year at Washington University to have “Conversations” on such topics as: What kind of international borders will exist in the 21st century? What is the future of freedom? Who are “public intellectuals”? And what purpose do they serve? Where did modern humans come from? In recognition of the sesquicentennial theme, “Treasuring the Past, Shaping the Future,” Arts & Sciences is hosting a series of four “Conversations” among scholars whose disciplines range from anthropology and biology to law and women’s studies. Thomas L. Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, best-selling author and foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times, will participate in the first “Conversation,” to be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 17 in the university’s Graham Chapel.