During early discussions about creating the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs (LCWA) at the College of Charleston, one of the key initiators, local entrepreneur Hilton Smith, tapped the expertise of his friend, John Edwin Mroz, founder of the New York City–based EastWest Institute (EWI).

With the help of Mroz’s international vision, LCWA opened its doors in 2006. Now, to preserve the legacy of EWI’s visionary leader, who passed away in 2014, Mroz will be honored as the namesake of the new John Edwin Mroz Global Leadership Institute (Mroz Institute) housed within LCWA.

Announced on CofC Day, the College’s annual day of giving, the formation of the institute came with a more than $2 million commitment by the EWI Board of Directors and nearly $500,000 from longtime EWI supporters the late Marshall and Arlene Bennett through the Bennett Family Foundation.

Since 1980, EWI has facilitated candid discourse among world leaders to form sustainable solutions for major political, economic and security issues. Now, through the legacy and values of EWI and Mroz, the institute will educate new generations in the methods and benefits of Track II diplomacy – negotiations carried out by private citizens.

“This great partnership,” says College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu, “will allow for significant expansion of the College’s international education and experiential learning opportunities for all students on campus.”

Students and scholars will have access to the permanent repository held in the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library for materials documenting EWI’s four decades of international diplomacy. The Mroz Institute will support the sponsored research and scholarship about the history of Track II diplomacy, with a special focus on EWI’s history, and will also help maintain EWI’s global network of influence.

“John played a key role in developing, with others at the College, the idea of a school that would focus on world affairs, realizing that a key to problem solving on the global level was also understanding various cultures and languages,” says Karen Linehan Mroz, EWI board member and wife of EWI’s late founder. “He believed it critically important to teach future generations of leaders and problem solvers to serve at the global level. When it came time to find a home for John’s and EWI’s legacy, the College and LCWA offered
a natural partnership. Of great importance will be both the engagement and further development of the global EWI alumni family of experts and luminaries to engage in the education process.”