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High-Ranking United Nations Official Returns to Academia as New Dean of UMD's School of Public Policy

August 27, 2014
Contacts: 

Crystal Brown 301-405-4621

Robert Orr, Ph.D.COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland today announced the appointment of Robert Orr, Ph.D., as the incoming Dean of the School of Public Policy. Dr. Orr's 10 years with the United Nations and his leadership within academia, U.S. Government, and the think tank and not-for-profit sectors make him the clear choice to set the school's strategic vision for the future.

Dr. Orr joins the University of Maryland after a decade as the Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning at the United Nations. In this role, he designed and built significant international institutions, including the UN Global Counter Terrorism Centre, the UN Peacebuilding Commission, and the UN Human Rights Council. He also launched a number of major multi-stakeholder initiatives on sustainable energy, women's and children's health, and food security backed by the UN that generated massive worldwide financial commitments. His specific expertise in program creation, policy direction, multi-stakeholder partnerships and large-scale resource mobilization are critical components to the position as Dean of the School of Public Policy.

His most recent academic position was Executive Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2003-04. In this role, Dr. Orr led the design of new research programs on the Middle East, counter-terrorism and post-conflict reconstruction. Additional accomplishments include a negotiated agreement between Harvard and the ruler of Dubai spearheading the creation of the Dubai School of Government in the United Arab Emirates.

Situated in the D.C. metropolitan area, UMD's School of Public Policy is renowned for attracting some of the world's most experienced policy leaders and providing students with access to practitioners who play influential roles in the nation's policy-making process.

"Dr. Orr will be a visionary and dynamic leader for the School of Public Policy," says Mary Ann Rankin, UMD's senior vice president and provost. "His expertise in the critical issues of climate change and environmental quality and sustainability coupled with his interests in counterterrorism, peace building, and cybersecurity will make him an extraordinary asset to the University of Maryland community. We are looking forward eagerly to his arrival."

Dr. Orr has been published extensively over the course of the past two decades, with a primary focus on the areas of post-conflict resolution, the United Nations, peacekeeping and democracy promotion. Notable works include Winning the Peace: an American Strategy for Post-Conflict Reconstruction – one of the best-selling books in CSIS Press history to date – and Keeping the Peace: Multidimensional UN Operations in Cambodia and El Salvador.

"There has never been a greater need for good public policy making than there is today -- globally, nationally, and locally," says Dr. Orr. "I am honored to join colleagues at a world class institution to develop new generations of scholars and practitioners in the art of making public policy."

Dr. Orr holds a B.A. in English and History from University of California, Los Angeles, an M.P.A. from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, and a Ph.D. in International Relations from Princeton University. He is fluent in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese and holds prestigious memberships on the Council on Foreign Relations and the White House Fellows Association.