Margaret Padelford Karns

Margaret Padelford Karns, 1965

B.A., Denison University
Ph.D., University of Michigan

University of Dayton
Dayton, Ohio

Citation awarded June, 2009

Margaret Padelford Karns (Peggy) has been actively involved in international relations as a university professor, community leader, and participant since she was a student at Denison. Although she has been at the University of Dayton for much of her career, she has had a number of opportunities for international experiences and to pursue her interest in international organizations. She was director of the International Studies Program and the founding director of the University of Dayton’s Center for International Programs from 1983 to 1995. Thereafter, Peggy spent a year teaching Chinese graduate students at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing Center and, in 1998, she co-taught a three month workshop on “Multilateral Institutions and the United Nations System” for mid-career Vietnamese government officials at the Institute for International Relations in Hanoi. She has returned to Vietnam twice in the last three years to lecture and consult with the Vietnam National University in Hanoi on developing its international relations program. Most recently, she and her long-time coauthor, Professor Karen Mingst of the University of Kentucky, co-taught an intensive five day workshop on “International Relations since the Cold War’s End” for 35 Vietnamese faculty. She has lectured at the United Nations University in Tokyo, Renmin University in Beijing, and Pretoria University in South Africa and was a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil in 1992. In addition, Peggy has long been involved with the Dayton Council on World Affairs, serving as president for terms in the mid-1980s and from 2004-07, and speaking regularly to groups in the Dayton area. She is a national member of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations.

With Professor Karen Mingst of the University of Kentucky, Peggy has published three books: The United States and Multilateral Institutions: Patterns of Instrumentality and Influence (1990), The United Nations in the Post-Cold War Era (1995; second edition, 2000, third edition, 2006), and International Organizations: Politics and Processes of Global Governance (2004; second edition, 2009). The latter won the 2006 ACUNS prize for Best Book on the United Nations and UN System. She has also published numerous articles on UN peacekeeping, global governance, the future of the UN system, and multilateralism.

As a student at Denison, Peggy sang with the Concert and Chapel Choirs as well as the Denison Madrigal Singers. She has participated in all the singing reunions of the Denison Singers over the last 30 years and, in Dayton, she has sung with the Bach Society since 1977. She currently serves as president of the group’s board of directors and notes that singing helps “restore her soul.” At her family’s summer home on the coast of Maine, Peggy also has been active on the board and development committee of the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestra Musicians since 1993. She comments that her interest in organizations has clearly not been confined to international ones since she seems to gravitate to small organizations that frequently need restructuring and strengthening!

Peggy has in the past also been active with the college, serving on the DURF board for a decade and has been listed in Who’s Who.