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Clowes' Vision Honored Through Fund and Award

Story by
Nancy Joseph
Jim Clowes

Jim Clowes

Jim Clowes was fearless. As associate director of the Comparative History of Ideas Program (CHID) and senior lecturer in the Jackson School of International Studies, he had big, bold ideas for courses and programs—ideas that others might consider too difficult or risky to attempt. And he made those ideas a reality, developing some of the most innovative programs in the College. 

Although Clowes’ life was cut short by cancer in March 2004, his work and his spirit will live on through two funds created in his honor: the Clowes Local/Global International Fund and the James D. Clowes Award for the Advancement of Learning Communities.

The Clowes Local/Global International Fund will support the development of international collaborations and help cover travel expenses for CHID students who would otherwise not be able to experience other cultures. The James D. Clowes Award will be used to recognize and reward UW teachers who are innovative and inspirational, like Clowes. 

Jim Clowes in Africa

Jim Clowes in Africa.

Clowes was also tireless, dedicated, and almost impossibly optimistic. Believing that international study could help students better understand themselves and others, he spent endless hours developing and leading programs in more than 20 locations around the globe, some of them emotionally and politically charged. 

At the heart of these programs was dialogue—between UW students and the local community, between community leaders in Seattle and abroad. This emphasis on linking communities is one reason why Clowes was awarded the S. Sterling Munro Public Service Teaching Award posthumously in June.

In fact, says John Toews, director of CHID and professor of history, Jim was “just hours from flying to Cyprus” to lead an international seminar at the time of his cancer diagnosis.

“The seminar brought students from the UW into dialogue with students from Beirut and Cairo around questions of national and religious identity,” says Toews. “The program continued without Jim, and its participants remain actively engaged in developing and expanding Jim’s vision—merely one example of the way in which his presence will continue among us for years to come.”