Dr. Irene W. Meister-Armington, distinguished alumna of Indiana University, completed her B.A. in Linguistics and M.A. in Islamic Law at IU in 1949. Dr. Meister went on to pursue a PhD in International Economics and Finance from Tuft University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Fluent in Russian and German, Dr. Meister’s dissertation on Soviet policy in the Middle East was used by the US Government as a basic research document. In 1994, Dr. Meister was recognized as an IU College Distinguished Alumna and in 1996 was awarded IU’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award.
A renowned expert in international trade and economics, Dr. Meister was a pioneer for women in public policy, serving as Senior Economic advisor to President Reagan on the President’s Export Council and an active member of the US Council on Foreign Relations as well as the Executive Committee of the US Council for International Business, to name a few. Dr. Meister had a passion for mentorship and often shared her experience and expertise with IU students during her visits. Dr. Meister recognized the importance of language acquisition for successful international negotiations. Her advice stressed the value of understanding the social economic, political, and cultural factors that inform the mindset and decisions of those with whom one is negotiating.
Dr. Meister has generously bequeathed a fellowship in her name for REEI students.
Portions of this piece have been adapted from Dr. Meister’s obituary in the New York Times, which may be accessed here.
Irene Meister (in red dress) with REEI director David Ransel (in coat and tie) and REEI MA/MPA students (right to left) Alice Tobin (2005), Jacquelyn Henderson-Zhorzh (2005), Neil Gipson (2006), and Stephanie (Hockman) Fitzmaurice (2005) in Spring 2005.