Rahul Sharma (Editor)

The Foreign Policy Institute

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Abbreviation  FPI
Location  Washington, D.C.
Website  fpi.sais-jhu.edu
Formation  1980
Executive Director  Carla Freeman
Founded  1980

Headquarters  1619 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Type of business  University affiliated Think Tank

The Foreign Policy Institute (FPI) is an American research center based at The Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C. The Institute, referred to as The FPI, is housed in the Benjamin T. Rome building on the Embassy Row in Washington, D.C., in the United States. The FPI organizes research initiatives and study groups, and hosts leaders from around the world as resident or non-resident fellows in fields including international policy, business, journalism, and academia.


Its stated mission is "to unite scholarship and policy in the search for realistic answers to international issues facing the United States and the world".

The Washington Center of Foreign Policy Research (1954–1980)

The Foreign Policy Institute (FPI) of the Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) was formerly known as the Washington Center of Foreign Policy Research. The Washington Center of Foreign Policy Research was founded in 1957 by Paul H. Nitze, former Secretary of the Navy and Deputy Secretary of Defense; Nitze, a cold war strategist and expert on military power and strategic arms whose roles as negotiator, diplomat and Washington insider spanned the era from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan, was also one of the founders of SAIS. The Washington Center, located in Washington, DC, served in effect as a major research division of SAIS. The Center was founded with a grant from the Ford Foundation and survived on further grants from the Carnegie Corporation and the Ford, Avalon, Old Dominion and Rockefeller Foundations. One of the earliest university affiliated think-tanks in the United States, The Washington Center spurred the creation of similar centers at other policy schools as well.

The Foreign Policy Institute (1980–present)

In mid-1980, the Washington Center of Foreign Policy Research was replaced by the Foreign Policy Institute with some changes to its structure and output. Many of the programs of the Center were adopted and expanded by the Institute. Some personnel of the Institute were members of the Center. The restructuring included the role of a Chairman, an internationally-known figure who provides prestigious leadership for the Institute. Harold Brown, Secretary of Defense during the Carter administration, became FPI Chairman in July 1984. The responsibilities of the Director of the Center were divided in the Institute between an Executive Director and the Chairman. The current Chairman of The FPI is the Dean of SAIS, Vali R. Nasr.

Among The FPI's early programs was its "Washington Roundtables," a series of discussions among academics, other foreign policy experts, and practitioners, on foreign policy and security issues facing the United States. In 1984, Senators Richard Lugar and Jake Garn established The Vandenberg Seminars at the FPI. These convened members of Congress and senior corporate officials, the executive branch, and academia to discuss the role of Congress in foreign and national security policy. The FPI's "Washington Briefings," also established in 1984, were aimed at giving foreign journalists from Western Europe, Asia, and Latin America a chance to be briefed by experts on the mechanics of US domestic and foreign policy.

During its formative years, The Foreign Policy Institute additionally established discussion groups on religion in the 21st century, Asian security, "new sciences," and new technology and international affairs. Regular programming included a "Current Issues" luncheon group led by former statesman and FPI fellow Zbigniew Brzezinski, and an outreach program for the mid-career professionals enrolled in the SAIS Masters of International Public Policy (MIPP).

Between 2000 and 2008, the Foreign Policy Institute introduced a number of new initiatives. The Protection Project, established at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government by FPI Fellow Laura Lederer in 1994, moved to SAIS in 2000. The Center for Transatlantic Relations was established in 2001 to strengthen transatlantic relations and address contemporary challenges. S. Frederick Starr, former White House advisor and policymaker founded and chaired, the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, originally as a sub-program of The FPI that houses several publications on Russia and Eurasia. The SAIS Dialogue Project was founded in 2002. The Foreign Policy Institute's Cultural Conversations program was established in 2008 to further the Dialogue Project's outreach efforts.

In 2012 the Johns Hopkins University established the Betty Lou Hummel Endowed Fund to create a permanent base of support for the Foreign Policy Institute.


In recent decades, the dean of SAIS has also served as the Chairman of The FPI. This position is currently held by Vali R. Nasr the current dean of SAIS. The Executive Director is the functional head of FPI, overseeing the programs and staff. Carla Freeman, Associate Research Professor and Associate Director of the China Studies program at Johns Hopkins University currently holds this position.


In 1984, The FPI launched its main publication, The SAIS Review of International Affairs which continues to be published under the same title. The SAIS Papers in International Affairs, prepared by members of the SAIS faculty, was another longstanding monograph series of The FPI which was discontinued. Other publications include The FPI Policy Briefs, The FPI Case Studies on formal diplomatic negotiations, and Policy Consensus Reports, which present recommendations of prominent American citizens on foreign policy issues.


The Foreign Policy Institute Wikipedia