Campus News

International affairs professor marks his 50-year anniversary in academia

Howard Wiarda

Howard J. Wiarda, the Dean Rusk Professor of International Relations in UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs, gives simple advice to students.

The founding head of SPIA’s international affairs department, Wiarda tells them to “find that career that enables you to match up your skills with your dreams,” and after that “work hard, study hard, play hard and persevere.”

The advice may be conventional, but Wiarda is a prime example of its effectiveness—and he has the career longevity to prove it. This spring, Wiarda completes his 50th year of teaching and researching in higher education.

In that time, Wiarda has served on presidential commissions, at foreign policy think tanks and for several prestigious universities. He has written extensively about international relations, foreign policy, travel and comparative topics.

“Professor Wiarda’s distinguished career has significantly advanced the field of international affairs, with hundreds of articles and many books that explore a range of topics in fields related to international relations, comparative politics and Latin American studies,” said Stefanie Lindquist, dean of the School of Public and International Affairs.

Wiarda finished his doctoral degree in political science at the University of Florida in 1965 and became the youngest assistant, associate and full professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He served as a professor for Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, George Washington University, Georgetown University and Ohio State University. He joined the faculty at UGA in 2003.

Wiarda began his career as a scholar of Latin American politics, and his writings on Latin America, Spain, Portugal, comparative politics, corporatism, political culture and the developing nations are well known in the field. Over the years, his scholarly interests have broadened to include nearly every continent with focuses in comparative democratization, civil society and general comparative politics and American foreign policy.

He has fulfilled the travel lover’s dream of visiting more than 106 countries—living in or researching in many of them.

He has written or edited more than 100 books.

The veteran educator also shows no signs of slowing down. In the last two years, Wiarda has published five books about travel, foreign policy and international politics.

“I love the research, writing and teaching that I do,” Wiarda said. “If I weren’t so enthusiastic about my work, I wouldn’t do it any more. It also helps that I have good health, a supportive family and excellent infrastructure from my school and department.”