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Dr. Irven ResnickDr. Irven Resnick honored by Sister Cities

Chattanooga Sister Cities has recognized Dr. Irven Resnick, Chair of Excellence in Judaic Studies, with the Citizen Diplomacy Award. The award honors the service and commitment of individuals who have contributed to Chattanooga by reaching out to people of other nations.

The five local “citizen diplomats” were recognized at the Sister Cities International Conference held at the University. Mae Ferguson, president of the board of directors of Sister Cities International, presented the awards.

Resnick was recognized for beginning a summer abroad program at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies in Oxford, England. Two professors and students from the University will live and study in England this summer.

“Citizen Diplomacy refers to people-to-people efforts,” said Eleanor Cooper, president of the Chattanooga Sister Cities association, “rather than professional diplomacy of governments. These awards recognize individuals who have made a significant difference in international relations locally.”

“Citizen Diplomacy” is a term used since President Eisenhower founded Sister Cities International in 1956. Sister Cities International encourages local efforts and individual initiatives to bridge international connections person to person and city to city.

“The Sister Cities award is important as a symbol because it recognizes the University's growing commitment to study abroad as an important component of an internationalized curriculum,” Resnick said. “My own role has been merely to translate that commitment into an annual summer program in Oxford for our students and faculty.”

The opportunity for UTC faculty to teach in Oxford should have several outcomes, according to Resnick. Field trips associated with the courses they will teach this summer, to London, Stratford on Avon, and elsewhere in England, should enhance their classroom presentations even after they return to UTC; access to Oxford's exceptional libraries and research facilities should promote their research goals; and contact with Oxford faculty may promote future exchanges, perhaps bringing Oxford scholars to Chattanooga.

Resnick said students who participate in the Oxford program can anticipate personal growth.

“Study abroad can broaden one's self-definition, making it possible to perceive oneself not only as a Chattanoogan, a Tennessean and an American, but also as a citizen of an interconnected world,” Resnick said.

Resnick has had the status of Senior Associate at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies since 2003, and recently was appointed an associate faculty member of Oxford University, giving him full faculty status at Oxford University. The appointment lasts until August 2008, and may be renewed. Beyond teaching courses, Resnick has full access to all university facilities and faculty support services.

“This represents a noteworthy recognition by Oxford of Dr. Resnick’s scholarly and academic credentials,” said Dr. William Harman, head of the Department of Philosophy and Religion.

May 1, 2007