Brigham Young University International Vice President Sandra Rogers announced this week that Jeffrey F. Ringer has been appointed as a new associate international vice president, replacing Erlend “Pete” Peterson. Renata Forste has been named the new director of the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies and an associate international vice president.

Jeffrey Ringer
Jeffrey F. Ringer

Ringer, who previously served as the director of the Kennedy Center from 2002–2016, officially began his tenure at the beginning of 2017. Peterson had served in the position since 2001.

“Jeff has done an outstanding job in leading the Kennedy Center,” said Rogers. “Under his direction, International and Area Studies programs have been strengthened, the International Study Programs Office has enhanced its ability to provide service to students and faculty, and the Kennedy Center has provided outstanding international enrichment experiences for the campus community. Jeff’s experience in working with faculty, hosting international visitors and working with Church units and leaders are key to the effort he will make in his new assignment.”

Following 50 years of service to the university, Peterson retired in December 2016. Peterson served in several professional positions in Admissions and Records before moving to Associate International Vice President, with 27 years as assistant dean, associate dean and dean.

“Pete left a remarkable footprint at BYU,” Rogers said. “As Dean of Admissions and Records he had a key role in the pioneering use of technology in student registration and record systems. He was instrumental in developing the Ambassador Visits Program which has created friends for BYU around the world. I am grateful for all that Pete has done for the university.”

Prior to joining the Kennedy Center as associate director in 1992, Ringer was a visiting instructor of political science at BYU. His primary research and writing interests are in the field of U.S. and Asian relations.

Ringer earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science and international relations, respectively, from BYU. He did graduate work in political science at the University of Colorado.

In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Ringer continues to teach courses on U.S. Foreign Policy and Asian politics.

Renata Forste
Renata Forste

Forste will begin serving as director of the Kennedy Center immediately. A previous chair of the sociology department and a former associate dean in the College of Family, Home, and Social Studies, Forste is currently a professor of sociology.

“Dr. Forste brings to this new position a wealth of experience as an academic leader, a fine scholar and a respected internationalist,” Rogers said. “Her experience as an area studies program coordinator, a leader of study and research/mentored experiences abroad and as an international researcher provide her with a deep understanding of the Kennedy Center, its programs and its future potential. I am looking forward to working with her as an Associate International Vice President.”

Forste earned a doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Chicago, and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from BYU.

Forste’s research has focused on population studies, women and children’s health and development internationally and family research internationally. Her publications in these areas include more than 50 journal articles, 14 conference articles and 16 grants and fellowships.

As a result of Forste’s work, she was awarded the Martin B. Hickman Outstanding Scholar Award in 2009.

During her time at BYU, Forste has also served as the coordinator of Latin American Studies and the coordinator of Women’s Studies. She recently returned from codirecting a study abroad program at BYU’s London Centre.