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Office of the Provost | Communications


Office of the Provost
Fax: 202-885-2173
Leonard, Room Lower Level

Bass, Scott A.

Office of the Provost
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8061

January 9, 2014

 TO: AU Community
 FROM: Scott A. Bass, Provost
 SUBJECT: Robert Pastor

Please see the letter below from Dean James Goldgeier regarding the passing of our colleague, Robert Pastor.

Dear Colleagues:

It is with tremendous sadness that I report that our longtime friend and colleague, Bob Pastor, passed away last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with Margy, Tiffin, Kip, and other members of the family.

As Bob told an audience of colleagues recently at the School of International Service holiday celebration, he was given six months to live when he originally received the diagnosis of cancer, more than 3 ½ years ago. But Bob, true to form, fought his battle against cancer valiantly and was able to witness many more wonderful moments over this period of time, including the birth of his first grandson.

Bob was a passionate, indefatigable scholar, policymaker and humanitarian, who believed that we have a responsibility to assist our neighbors here in the Western Hemisphere, and our neighbors around the world, regardless of the size, complexity or direness of the challenge. From his time in the Peace Corps, to his many electoral observation missions abroad, to his work with The Elders, Bob was committed to improving the lives of millions around the world.

Here at the School of International Service, we were extremely fortunate to count Bob as a colleague and to learn from his extensive scholarship and commitment to teaching and to his students, many of whom have carried his ideas around the world. He touched the lives of thousands of students here at the university, and previously at Emory University, where he taught for 16 years prior to joining American University. His legacy lives on through them and through his countless publications in support of further North American integration, elections administration and observation, U.S. foreign policy, the Middle East, and other pressing global challenges that he pursued.

A poster depicting his most recent book, The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future, hangs in the Atrium level of the School of International Service, near the Graduate Admissions office. A memorial guest book will be placed on the table beside the poster, and I invite the American University community to share its remembrances of Bob in the guest book. If you are unable to visit campus, please feel free to email a tribute to, and we will include your message in the book. We will present the memorial guest book to Bob’s family in the near future.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to seek counseling support, if they would find it helpful during this difficult time. Counseling resources for students are available through the Counseling Center, at (outside of business hours, please contact AU Public Safety and request the counselor on call). Counseling resources for faculty and staff are available through Human Resources at Chaplain resources for all members of the American University community are available through the Kay Spiritual Life Center at

I will share more information about funeral arrangements and a university memorial service when I have them.

Finally, I would like to leave you with a statement Bob made recently at a small dinner he hosted to thank students, scholars and staff who supported his efforts to host the recent conference on the future of NAFTA and the North American relationship:

"Enjoy yourselves. Remain North Americans to the core. That is the future -- that is the idea that will eventually take hold. And you will be the first one there. And so you can remind people: The future of the 21st century is: How do we relate to our neighbors in ways that are different than ways that we've done in the past? And that's the secret of the North American idea."

We will all miss Bob dearly. I hope you will join me by thinking often about the many wonderful lessons he shared with us and honoring Bob by doing more for our neighbors here and around the world.

With best wishes,
James Goldgeier
Dean, School of International Service