An innovative investor in the Institute: Meet Michael Maibach

November 29, 2011  |  DONOR SPOTLIGHT

Studying at the Center for the Study of the Presidency

Thirty years ago, when IWP supporter and student Michael Maibach was an undergraduate, his fellowship at the Center for the Study of the Presidency (now the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress) helped spark a lifelong interest in politics and international affairs. Now, he's enabled his fellow IWP graduate students to participate in this prestigious program.

The fellowship at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress continues to attract students from around the country, who come to Washington twice a year in order to meet with officials from the executive branch and Congress.  Fellows also write a research paper about the Presidency or Congress, which might be selected to appear in the Center's quarterly publication.  For more information about this program, please click here.

Experience at IWP

Mr. Maibach is enthusiastic about the American system of government and is eager to promote peace internationally.  He chose to pursue further education at IWP.  He has completed eight courses, and is looking forward to enrolling in more in the future.  

"What I like about IWP is that many of the professors are practitioners, and have held senior government posts.  In addition to academic knowledge, they bring real-life practical wisdom to their teaching," he says.

"My professor for my class on Latin America, Roger Fontaine, worked in the White House on Latin American issues.  Ross Munro, who taught my class on China, worked as the head of various Time magazine news bureaus throughout Asia for 17 years.  Another professor, Tom Melady, was a former ambassador to the Vatican, Uganda, and Burundi."

What Mr. Maibach learned from these professors did not stay in the classroom; he has integrated it into his work as President of the European-American Business Council.  He has used this knowledge in his frequent business trips to China, where insights from IWP have helped him understand political operations, and in Brazil, where Prof. Fontaine's class provided his background for understanding the culture and history of the region. 

"I've been to 55 countries, and I'm in Europe every other month for business.  Some of the work we did on European foreign affairs has been very helpful.  Joshua Muravchik was the first professor I had at IWP, and in his class, we dealt with the fall of the Berlin Wall, Soviet ideology, and its impact on Central Europe."  Most recently, these insights into the Central European experience were useful for Mr. Maibach during a small private dinner with the President of Estonia.  During this dinner, he was also glad he had reviewed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and Russia, which led to the Soviet annexations of the Baltic States, in Prof. John Tierney's class.

Mr. Maibach observes, "I deal with American government each and every day.  In Charles Smith's class on political philosophy, I gained a richer understanding of why the US government operates the way it does."

A Unique Partnership

Mr. Maibach was deeply impressed with what he found with IWP, and wanted other students to have the same opportunity he had had to study at both the Center and the Institute.  As a result, he founded an innovative partnership between the two organizations to make this fellowship possible at the Center for an IWP student - a partnership which has made a difference in the lives of five presidential fellows to date:

John Paul Royal, 2010-2011
Lance Mogard, 2009-2010
Brooks Sommer, 2007-2008
Charles Van Someren, 2006-2007
Justin Stebbins, 2005-2006

2006-07 Fellow Charles Van Someren observes that, "I was surprised when I discovered that my favorite part of participating in the Presidential Fellows Program wasn't the unique research opportunities or the chance to interact with top scholars - enriching as they both were. Talking with other fellows was extremely enlightening; I was exposed to a wide range of original research in fields outside of my particular interest in foreign policy. I was honored to be selected as a representative of IWP for this program, and I'm deeply grateful to Mr. Maibach for his sponsorship of our school's participation."

IWP founder and President John Lenczowski comments, "This is a great opportunity for IWP students to be part of an elite group of graduate students from around the United States, and to have the opportunity to write and to publish on subjects that are of vital current interest to the nation."

CAPT David Ray Pate is the 2011-2012 Maibach Fellow at the Center.  Please click here to read more about David's experience at the Center and at the Institute.