Dr. Richard J. Samuels was appointed to hold the Ford International Professorship in Political Science, effective July 1, and succeeded Professor Suzanne Berger as head of the Department of Political Science, effective September 1.
Both appointments were announced by Dean Philip S. Khoury of the School of Humanities and Social Science, who said, "Dick Samuels is a natural institution builder who will continue to strengthen an already outstanding department and provide inspired leadership at a time when many of the political paradigms and methodologies of the Cold War era have been challenged by the upheavals and changes of the 1990s."
The Ford International Chair Professorships were established to encourage research and scholarship in the international aspects of such areas as political science, economics, history, management and urban studies. Dean Khoury reports that Professor Samuels was "selected to hold this chair because of his sustained and excellent contributions to MIT's educational programs in combination with outstanding scholarly work in the areas of comparative politics and political economy." The Ford Professorship in Political Science was previously held by Professor Lucien Pye from 1972 to until his retirement this past June.
Professor Samuels is widely recognized as one of the country's leading experts on contemporary Japan and the author of several influential studies. His book, The Business of the Japanese State: Energy Markets in Comparative and Historical Perspective (1987), received the Ohira Foundation Prize. Currently, he is completing a book on Japanese technology process. Professor Samuels received the BA degree from Colgate University in 1973, the MA from Tufts University in 1974, and the PhD from MIT in 1980, and has been an unusually effective organizer of Japan-related activities, having participated actively in the Industrial Liaison Program's Japanese efforts, as well as creating the MIT-Japan Program.
The MIT-Japan Program requires two years of training in language, culture and politics and then places students in internships in Japanese factories and labs. This educational innovation has been studied by the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and evaluated as a model to be widely emulated in other institutions to prepare students to learn from Japanese experience and to operate as equals within Japanese institutions as Japanese do here at MIT.
A version of this article appeared in the September 30, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 8).