Rachel Beatty Riedl, formerly director of the Program of African Studies at Northwestern University, has been named the new director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.
Working closely with the center’s eight regional and thematic programs as well as with acting director Wendy Wolford, vice provost for international affairs, Riedl will set the Einaudi Center’s strategic course as it contributes to international initiatives across campus.
“Cornell has a rich tradition of international research, teaching and engagement,” Wolford said. “This work is critically important today, and Rachel brings the perfect combination of experience, passion and global immersion to the leadership of the Einaudi Center.”
Said Riedl, who joins the College of Arts and Sciences as the John S. Knight Professor of International Studies in the Department of Government: “Every research topic has an international component or core. At the Einaudi Center, we see the international perspective as central to advancing knowledge.”
Riedl is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and chair of the American Political Science Association’s Comparative Democratization section.
She heads to France this year for a 2019–20 fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Nantes. She will conduct research in Zambia and Senegal on how the fluid links between rural and urban communities shape social networks and civic participation.
Political engagement in sub-Saharan Africa is also the theme of Riedl’s upcoming book, “From Pews to Politics: Religious Sermons and Political Participation in Africa.” The book – co-authored with Gwyneth McClendon, assistant professor of politics at New York University – will be published in September.
Riedl earned her Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University in 2008. She was selected as a Fulbright Scholar in 2015-16, and recently received a Fulbright Flex Award, which will support her work in Zambia and Senegal.
While on fellowship in France this coming year, Riedl will make several visits to Ithaca. She said it’s an exciting time to be at Cornell: “Incredible possibility exists all over campus. The interwoven tapestry is so rich.”
She hopes to share this sense of opportunity with faculty and students at the Einaudi Center. “Einaudi is a place for researchers to connect and find partnerships on campus or with international collaborators,” Riedl said. “We want to provide the content to spur new ideas and bring people together.”
She especially wants to extend an invitation to new and returning students. “I’d like students – undergraduate and graduate – to know that Einaudi is a home for planning, imagining, creating and implementing your own research agenda. This is a space where you can find support and ideas and the infrastructure you need.”
Sheri Englund is associate director of communication for International Affairs.