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Two New Endowed Chairs at Duquesne Examine Global Interests

Two Duquesne University professors with interest in global matters have been named the holders of the newest endowed chairs.

Dr. Clifford Bob, associate professor of political science in the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, and Dr. Lisa Lopez Levers, professor in the department of counseling, psychology and special education in the School of Education, have been selected to hold the latest endowed chairs.

Bob will hold the inaugural Raymond J. Kelley Endowed Chair in International Relations and Levers has been installed as The Rev. Francis Philben, C.S.Sp., Endowed Chair in African Studies.

Bob's research focuses on globalization, ethnic conflict, nongovernmental organizations and human rights. He has received support for his research from the American Council of Learned Societies, the United States Institute of Peace, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Albert Einstein Institution and the Social Science Research Council.

While teaching at Duquesne's Italian campus this semester, Bob also is investigating how claims to rights of conscience have been used as a basis for lawsuits challenging crucifixes in public school classrooms-and reactions by Italy's government, the Vatican and the European Court of Human Rights. This work will be unveiled in an upcoming book, tentatively titled Rights as Weapons in Political Conflicts

Bob's latest book, The Global Right Wing and the Clash of World Politics, provides an account of conservative global activism and its clashes with human rights, environmental and social justice organizations on gun rights, gay rights and other issues.

Bob directs the pre-law program and serves as faculty advisor to the Duquesne Model United Nations Council. The chair he holds is named for the founder of the International Relations Club at Duquesne, who held a master's degree in political science from Columbia University and taught political science at Duquesne in 1936, when the U.S. was gripped by the Great Depression, the Spanish Civil War ignited and Hitler hosted the Olympics in Berlin.

Involved elsewhere around the globe for nearly two decades, Levers has focused her service efforts on those affected by violence, foster children, people affected by HIV/AIDS, children with emotional and behavioral disturbances and people with disabilities. She integrates her experiences and research in urban settings into the master's and doctoral level courses she teaches. 

Levers has conducted research and service to marginalized children and adults, working in New Orleans, Wyoming, Russia and the African countries of Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.

In 2010, Levers won the inaugural Dr. Barbara A. Sizemore Spirit Award in recognition of her focus on providing access to African-American students and those from low-income backgrounds to achieve the highest academic levels.

She currently is working with colleagues in Zimbabwe to initiate a university-based Centre for Trauma Counseling and Healing. The facility, which will serve multiple regions of sub-Saharan Africa, will include a school offering several academic degrees and a clinic.  

The text Levers' recently edited, Trauma Counseling, is a comprehensive guide to the theory and treatment of survivors of traumatic events such as hate crimes, violence, natural disasters, war and terrorism. The book also focuses on handling loss and grief, survivorship and disability, the impact of war on civilians and veterans, and the distinct effects of trauma in early childhood, childhood and adolescence.

Lever's endowed chair post is named for Philben, a Spiritan ordained in 1946 who spent six years in Tanganyika, Africa, and taught at St. James Seminary there. He returned to the U.S. and became the first director of Duquesne's Institute of African Affairs in 1956.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.