What We Do
The Mansfield Center pursues many different goals in its efforts to continue the legacy of Maureen and Mike Mansfield. The Center seeks to engage people at the University, in Missoula, and in Montana and to connect them with students, educators, scholars, leaders, and institutions around the world in order to promote dialogue and a global exchange of perspectives, ideas, and solutions.
The Mansfield Center brings global and ethical issues to Montanans and the University through public education. Every academic semester, the Mansfield Center invites University of Montana faculty, community members, national guests, and visiting international scholars and fellows to speak as a part of the Mansfield Center Brown Bag Lecture Series. Lecturers speak on their own experiences in a variety of areas, including ethics, the environment, U.S. policy, and international development. The Asian Leadership Forum brings in nationally and internationally renowned speakers like former Ambassador to Korea Kathleen Stephens and Georgetown University's Distinguished Professor of Asian Studies David Steinberg to discuss matters concerning the future of Asia and Asia-U.S. relations.
The annual Mansfield Center Conference draws on both local and national speakers to create a forum for dialogue on critical, timely topics like health care reform, women's leadership, human trafficking, and food security.
Mansfield Center Academic Programs enrich the University of Montana's Asian and Ethics studies. Taught by faculty affiliates, Mansfield Center courses cover a variety of topics including Asian history, culture, politics and current affairs, ethics, public policy, and other key issues relevant to our mission and the University of Montana's needs. The Center works with an array of campus units to coordinate the East Asian Studies Program. The Center holds seminars, workshops, and institutes for Montana teachers and is a partner in the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia.
Study abroad for high school and university students is an important focus of our global education. The American Youth Leadership Program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, supports natural resource study in Cambodia for 20 Montana high school students and two teachers. At the University level, the Mansfield Center partners with the College of Forestry and Conservation to provide a six-credit wintersession program for both undergraduate and graduate students on culture and climate change in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam.
The Mansfield International Training Program provides cross-cultural instruction in a variety of areas drawing on the expertise of the University of Montana and the western Montana community. Commonly offered training involves business, law, education, natural resource management, climate change, public administration, media, and U.S. culture and society. Lectures by University faculty members are supplemented by field study, engagement with community leaders, and hands-on workshops.
A key component of our training programs is support of global governmental objectives. The U.S. Department of State is a key partner in programs for mid-level professionals in such areas as economic development, youth and sports, women's leadership, and global environmental issues.
The Mansfield Ethics and Public Affairs Program (MEPAP) at the University of Montana is charged with conducting research and educational activities focusing on the relationship of values to institutions and public affairs. Its courses, seminars, lectures, and conferences examine the role that ethical values can and should play in public life, the moral quandaries faced by those who govern, the philosophical and practical dimensions of political ethics, and the issues of leadership and character in public service.
In recent years, MEPAP has received two highly competitive awards from the National Science Foundation to conduct research on ethical issues involving science and technology. These issues include biotechnology, nanotechnology, climate change, and geoengineering. MEPAP has held several national level workshops on these issues involving scientists, ethicists, and graduate students. In addition, MEPAP has hosted conferences, workshops, and lectures offered by leading scholars on ethical issues in the areas of end of life care, global justice, health care policy, environmental policy, and agricultural policy. Finally, MEPAP has offered professional development courses on Teaching Ethics and Conservation Ethics.
Through the Mansfield Center, the Defense Critical Language and Culture Program (DCLCP) provides intensive training for the U.S. military and other Department of Defense (DoD) personnel through a congressionally-funded Language Training Center initiative administered by the DoD's Defense Language National Security Education Office. The DCLCP presents courses on Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Pashto, Dari, and Urdu, as well as courses on the cultures and regional issues associated with East Asia, the Middle East, and Central and Southwest Asia. Courses take place globally through video teleconferencing studios and locally through in-residence classroom training, Mobile Training Teams, and iso-immersion segments at the University of Montana's Lubrecht Experimental Forest complex.
The Mansfield Center is home to the only Confucius Institute in the Northern Rockies in a cooperative partnership between the University of Montana, the Government of China's Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), and the Southwest University of Political Science and Law (SWUPL) of Chongqing. Instructional content, however, is controlled by the Mansfield Center itself. Our Confucius Institute is part of an international network dedicated to education, public programming, and teacher training on Chinese language, history, culture, and current affairs. The Chinese language and culture programs offered by the Confucius Institute are provided to k-12 institutions and the public throughout Montana. The purpose is to enhance public understanding of Chinese culture and language in the belief that these will provide a solid community-based foundation for U.S.-China relations now and in the future.
The Center works with colleagues around the world to promote legal reform and to advance the rule of law, a vital component of legitimate and accountable government, with its Legal Reform Initiative. The program brings together professionals involved in legal reform, promotes international exchanges, sponsors conferences on relevant criminal justice issues, and supports on-site and distance learning.
The Legal Atlas is an award-winning initiative supported by the Mansfield Center that maps the world of law. The project focuses on the study of environmental laws around the globe to discover how they work, where, and why. Legal Atlas promotes applied research opportunities for students interested in investigating the connection between law, social concerns, and natural resource management throughout the world. Legal Atlas utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of law that relies on the use of innovative technologies, geographic information systems, and visual analytics to find new ways for accessing and assessing laws and policies nationally and worldwide. This research generates new knowledge to build smarter laws for a better planet.
In 2012, Legal Atlas was recognized by the Hague Institute for the Internationalization of Law as the Most Innovative Idea for promoting justice worldwide.