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January 19, 2011: News, Research & Events from the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
Baker Institute Update: A new drug policy fellow; Jamail dedication; Sharp Foundation pledges $500,000
Former DEA agent Gary Hale named drug policy fellow

Gary J. Hale
, former intelligence chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Houston office, is the Baker Institute's new nonresident fellow in drug policy.

"With decades of service as an intelligence officer with the DEA in the U.S. and Latin America, and now in his position as a key consultant and adviser to both the U.S. and Mexico regarding the violent drug wars in Mexico, Gary Hale brings a level of empirical knowledge and practical experience that should prove extremely valuable to the institute's drug policy, Latin America and homeland security programs," said William Martin, Harry and Hazel Chavanne Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy, who also runs the institute's Drug Policy Program.

Hale, pictured above, brings more than 30 years of on-the-ground federal law enforcement experience to the institute, including key intelligence assignments in Colombia, Bolivia and Mexico. In Washington, D.C., Hale served as chief of the Heroin Investigations Support Unit and chief of the Dangerous Drugs Intelligence Unit. In 1990, he received the DEA Administrator's Award, the agency's highest recognition, for work that led to the seizure of hundreds of aircraft involved in cocaine transport in Latin America. Hale retired in July 2010 and currently operates his own intelligence firm. He is a graduate of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the University of Virginia's Darden School of Leadership.

Rice Dean of Humanities Nicolas Shumway is new Baker Institute Rice scholar

The Baker Institute has added Nicolas Shumway, Rice University dean of humanities and the Frances Moody Newman Professor of Humanities, to its roster of Rice scholars. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, Shumway's scholarship explores Latin American history and culture, as well as advocacy and politics in the foreign-language classroom. He received his doctorate and master's degrees at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his bachelor's degree at Brigham Young University.

Baker Hall west wing named in honor of Lee and Joe Jamail

The Baker Institute dedicated the Lee and Joseph D. Jamail West Wing of Baker Hall Tuesday evening at a ceremony marked by gratitude and good memories. 
"It is a particular honor for me to know that the names of Lee and Joe Jamail will be a permanent fixture right next to mine here in Baker Hall," said James A. Baker, III, the institute's namesake and honorary chair. "Now each time I look at its west wing, I will be reminded of how blessed I am to have such a friend as you, Joe."
A $1 million gift from the legendary Texas lawyer, donated in honor of Baker's 80th birthday, will enable the institute to expand into an area currently occupied by another Rice University department. As a result, "our research and policy programs will be enhanced," said Baker Institute founding director Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian. "We'll be able to hire new fellows, open new workspaces for graduate students and Rice student interns, and take our existing policy research programs to new heights. We are profoundly grateful for (Jamail's) generous support over many years."
Jamail said he never expected the institute to name a wing after him and his late wife, Lee. "It's a great honor for me, and I know for Lee, to have our names associated with Rice University and the Baker Institute, and with Jimmy and Susan Baker," he said. "You've made me and my family very proud, and I know Lee would be proud of this honor."

Baker noted that although he is a Republican and Jamail is a Democrat -- and neither has "shied away from brass-knuckle partisan political scrapes" -- theirs is a decades-long friendship. Both were born and raised in Houston, served at different times in the U.S. Marine Corps, attended The University of Texas Law School and carpooled their children to and from the Kinkaid School, Baker said. When Jamail represented Pennzoil in a landmark lawsuit against Texaco, he teamed up with lawyers from Baker Botts.
"There are few people on this good Earth with whom I feel more comfortable than Joe Jamail," Baker said. "I'm sure that's one of the main reasons, if not perhaps the main reason, that we're naming the west wing for Lee and Joe Jamail. Joe is a man of crisp intellect, a terrific lawyer, a man of unfettered passions and unlimited energy. Sharing a drink and a good conversation with Joe is as close to good as it ever gets to me."

Sharp Foundation pledges $500,000 to Latin American Initiative

The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation has pledged $500,000 to help fund the program costs of the Baker Institute Latin American Initiative (LAI) over the next two years. "This gift will help expand our efforts to foster a better understanding of the cultures, economies and contemporary affairs of Latin America, and enable us to engage additional faculty and scholars at Rice and across the hemisphere," said Erika de la Garza, LAI program director. "We're very grateful for the generosity of the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation." The foundation, based in New York, supports a wide range of endeavors, including programs in education, the arts and medicine.

Upcoming Events

  • Obama Administration Priorities in South and Central Asia. The Honorable Robert O. Blake, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, discusses the administration's policies in the region. January 19 at 6:00 pm
  • A World Without Islam. History professor Graham Fuller suggests that many current tensions between the East and the West have a geopolitical, rather than religious, origin, and would have arisen even in a world without Islam. January 27 at 6:30 pm
  • Turkish-American Relations and Turkish Foreign Policy. Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to the United States Namik Tan speaks at the Baker Institute. January 28 at 6:00 pm

Events are by invitation only unless otherwise noted. For a complete list, visit our events page.

Research & News

For a complete list of research and commentary, visit our publications page.


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The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy is a nonpartisan public policy think tank located on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas. The institute's distinguished fellows and scholars research and collaborate with experts from academia, government, the media, business and private organizations on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy.
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