Thoughts on the Passing of Julien J. Studley

Published on October 14, 2015

From Professor Michael Cohen,
Founding Director (emeritus)
of Graduate Program in International Affairs:

It was with great sadness that I learned yesterday of the passing of Julien Studley, a strong, long-time supporter and thoughtful partner of the Observatory on Latin America (OLA) and the Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs (SGPIA) of The New School. In 2012 Julien’s invaluable contribution also amounted to a large financial gift, as a result of which the International Affairs program was gratefully renamed into Julien J. Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs(SGPIA).

From the origins of both programs, Julien was an astute and constructive critic, with ambitious ideas of how The New School could play a significant role in Latin America and the world at large. He attended many events, listened to students and invited speakers, and always provided helpful and insightful feedback.

He was a member of the first SGPIA Advisory Committee and provided specific guidance to me on how to build the program, hire faculty, and attract students. He strongly believed in the reinforcing character of combining theory and practice and, from the beginning, provided financial support to develop SGPIA.

He was a strong supporter of the International Field Program (IFP), attending the annual IFP conferences for hours, and later providing quiet, but firm advice on how to better prepare students, how to design the IFP yearly cycle, and to challenge students to grow through a learning experience in the field.

He quickly saw the potential of building an active Observatory on Latin America which could play a significant role in New York, while being actively engaged in the region. He celebrated OLA’s success, yet never stopped urging us to do more. He was particularly enthusiastic about building a program of academic collaboration with Cuba, the country which received him as a refugee from World War II Europe.

After the death of former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, Julien suggested that the University commemorate Kirchner’s role through a President Nestor Kirchner Fellowship Program, which is now in its fifth year and which this year will bring its first Cuban Kirchner Fellow to The New School in February 2016. Julien was delighted to meet young Kirchner Fellows in New York and to hear about their work and hopes for the future.

All of this work was further supported in 2011 when Julien made a large financial gift to OLA and SGPIA, supporting OLA, the Kirchner Fellowship Program, SGPIA faculty research, the IFP, and a visiting Studley Visiting Fellow position. Julien’s generosity has touched hundreds of graduate students, all of the SGPIA faculty, and many institutional partners in Latin America and around the world. His quiet, but determined manner demonstrated by example that it was possible to make a difference and all the time, he did so with a touch of humor and unfailing respect for students, faculty, and staff.

I had the great personal privilege to spend many hours with him over 14 years, discussing how OLA and SGPIA were growing and the new challenges to be faced.  He always asked serious questions, yet he was optimistic and always encouraged me to do more. I will miss him very much.

Michael Cohen

Please read The New York Times tribute to Julien J. Studley, our friend, patron and colleague.