Dr Nigel Bowles to take over as director of Rothermere American Institute

Dr Nigel Bowles is taking over as the new Director of Oxford University`s Rothermere American Institute as Professor Paul Giles prepares to step down after five years.

Dr Bowles, an expert on the American Presidency, will be taking over the role on 1 September 2008.

He said: ‘It is a privilege to take on the Directorship of the Rothermere American Institute. In succeeding my distinguished colleague Paul Giles, I wish to build on the goodwill and support for the Institute that so many have generously shown since its founding. The RAI`s purpose is to foster academic understanding of the events, processes, and forces that have formed and periodically reformed the United States` distinctive polity and culture. It is a challenge the specialists in American history, politics, and literature at Oxford are ideally placed to meet. I look forward with confidence to working with them, and colleagues across the collegiate University and beyond, to make the RAI an energetic and productive centre of public attention and intellectual activity for scholars and observers of the United States at a critical new phase in its history.`

The Rothermere American Institute, which was opened on 25 May 2001 by former US President Bill Clinton, is an international centre of excellence dedicated to the interdisciplinary and comparative study of the United States. The Institute also hosts the finest library of Americana to be found outside the USA.

Professor Giles said: ‘It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be director of the RAI between 2003 and 2008. One of the most memorable events during this time was the opening of the Princess Margaret Memorial Garden by HRH The Queen in May 2006. But there have been many other high points - the visit of President Jimmy Carter to the Institute in 2007 and the 2005`s conference on the Reagan years, with lectures by Dan Rather and Tom Wolfe. ‘The RAI has continued to grow and develop, hosting a full range of seminars, lectures and other events. One of the highlights of this academic year was the visit in November of Jesse Jackson, who deftly fielded questions about the US presidential election.`

Nigel Bowles is University Lecturer in Politics and Balfour Fellow in Politics at St Anne`s College; he is serving as Director of Graduate Studies in Politics for the Department, 2008-11.