The Johns Hopkins University, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies

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A Global Presence, an International Outlook

Vali R. Nasr

Vali R. Nasr
Professor of International Relations
The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze Schoolof Advanced International Studies (SAIS)


SAIS is a global institution that offers students a truly international perspective on today’s critical issues. A presence on three continents—in the cities of Washington, D.C., Bologna, Italy, and Nanjing, China—sets SAIS apart and is one of the school’s greatest strengths. We not only teach about the world, we are in the world.

Our graduates are recognized for their interdisciplinary breadth and solid foundation in economics—prerequisites for a successful career in international relations.

SAIS’s academic mission straddles the boundaries of intellectual discourse and professional performance. A SAIS education is the bridge that connects knowledge at a theoretical level in economics, foreign policy and regional studies to the practical work of policymakers and practitioners.

As someone with extensive experience in both academia and policymaking, you have said this is an important and turbulent time in global affairs. What will be the impact on international relations education, and how are SAIS faculty preparing students for changing conditions?

Tomorrow’s leaders will contend with an increasingly complex and interrelated world in which economic opportunities and challenges combine with major shifts in the distribution of power between traditional centers of influence and emerging ones. In addition, nations will experience crises caused by conflict, population movements, scarce resources and climate change. Solving these problems requires not only a deep knowledge of diverse subjects and regions of the world, but also the ability to analyze and innovate. Our educators today must prepare the next generation of leaders to confront these realities—and make a positive difference in the world.

In order to inspire, inform and influence future graduates, SAIS is expanding its world-class faculty with professors of exceptional potential. Could you describe that strategy?

To reflect the changing global environment, SAIS is continuously enhancing its curriculum. As part of that effort, we are recruiting a cohort of young scholars who work on new approaches to resolving global issues. SAIS will provide a platform for their research in order to find policy applications while exposing our students to the latest debates and intellectual trends.

In your new position as SAIS dean, what is your vision for the school—and its leadership role in the international relations arena?

SAIS has been one of the premier international relations schools for several generations. We have trained our 16,000 graduates in economics and politics, international development and government. The school is also recognized as a thought leader in identifying questions of importance to the global community and determining how educational institutions address them. My vision for SAIS is to continue this leadership role: defining the gold standard in international relations education and producing the very best of tomorrow’s world leaders.

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