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Berkshire CEO speaks at Notre Dame (and sees her first football game)

I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of twenty-five faculty members, administrators, librarians, and students at Notre Dame University on my way back from Beijing two weeks ago. The Friday workshop was entitled “Expanding global knowledge & connections: research and curricular resources for East Asian studies,” and came about because of Notre Dame’s new emphasis on East Asia and especially on China. The university is developing new programs and planning institutional enhancements, including the new Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, an Asia office in Beijing, as well as expanding efforts at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, and the International Office. The university library has also hired its first East Asian specialist,  Hye-Jin Juhn. She accompanied me on a tour of the entire Notre Dame library and the campus. The visit was arranged so that I could do some world history, too, and of course fit in some sports! Historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, who visited me in Great Barrington last autumn, gave the Game Day Lecture, “Change: Why It Happens, Why It Accelerates, and What Might Happen Next,” and I then attended the President’s Brunch with some of my new Asian Studies colleagues. From there, I went to the stadium and joined Felipe and his son for the game against Boston College. The story of my watching an American football game with two Englishmen of Spanish descent is likely to be included in the introduction to the next Berkshire Encyclopedia of World Sport!

Another story I may have to include is a lesson I learned over breakfast at Sorin’s, on the Notre Dame campus, the day before. It was my first morning back in the States and we talked about American football, naturally. My hosts were delighted to hear about my plans for a much expanded third edition of the Berkshire Encyclopedia of World Sport. I confessed that while I had seen a lot of American football on TV this would only be my second real football game. The first, I said, had been the Harvard-Yale game last year. At this, the whole table fell silent. I thought perhaps they were horrified that I was no a true follower of football. At last, one of them broke the silence, taking a deep breath before saying firmly, “That was not a real football game.”

It was terrific to meet Notre Dame’s new Library Director, Diane Parr Walker, as well as China scholars, and people from the business and architecture schools. I talked to a number of people specializing in ethics and religion, which Notre Dame is known for, and enjoyed the general consciousness of social responsibility, shared by everyone I spoke to. Special thanks to Jonathan Noble, Assistant Provost for Internationalization, Sharon Schierling, Associate Director of Kellogg Institute, Jingyu Wang, East Asian Studies Research Associate and Hye-Jin Juhn, East Asian Studies Librarian, as well as to Berkshire authors who weren’t on campus while I was there: Susan Blum (a contributor to the Berkshire Encyclopedia of China) and John Nagle (an editor for the Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability).

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