Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

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Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
The Wilson Center Logo - Banner.png
Motto Independent Research, Open Dialogue & Actionable Ideas
Established 1968
Type Government Organization Think Tank
Legal status United States Presidential Memorial
Headquarters International Trade Center
  • 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20007
Key people

Jane Harman (Director), Thomas R. Nides (Chairman),

John Kerry (Board of Directors)
Affiliations Smithsonian Institution
Website http://www.wilsoncenter.org

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (or Wilson Center), located in Washington, D.C., is a United States Presidential Memorial that was established as part of the Smithsonian Institution by an act of Congress in 1968. It is also a highly recognised think tank, ranked among the top ten in the world.[1]

Named in honor of President Woodrow Wilson (the only President of the United States with a Ph.D.), its mission is "to commemorate the ideals and concerns of Woodrow Wilson by: providing a link between the world of ideas and the world of policy; and fostering research, study, discussion, and collaboration among a full spectrum of individuals concerned with policy and scholarship in national and world affairs."[2]


The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, where the Wilson Center is located.

The Center was established within the Smithsonian Institution, but it has its own board of trustees, composed both of government officials and of individuals from private life appointed by the President of the United States. The Center's director and staff include scholars, publishers, librarians, administrators, and support staff, responsible to the trustees for carrying out the mission of the Center. The trustees and staff are advised by a group of private citizens called the Wilson Council. Interns, usually undergraduate or graduate students, support the activities of visiting scholars and staff while learning the business of top-level research.

Most of the Center's staff form specialized programs and projects covering broad areas of study. These programs and projects organize and host conferences and seminars, and support many kinds of research, communication, and publication on topics relevant to their areas.

The Center also publishes a digital magazine, the Wilson Quarterly.

In 2013, the Wilson Center was ranked in the top ten think tanks in the world. It was also ranked 6th in the United States, 5th in the world for international development, and 12th in the world for international affairs. It was also ranked 5th think tank 'to watch' and 13th best-managed think tank in the world.[1]


The Center is a public-private partnership. Approximately one third of the Center's operating funds come annually from an appropriation from the U.S. government, and the Center's building, a wing of the Ronald Reagan Building, was provided by the U.S. government. The remainder of the Center's funding comes from foundations, grants and contracts, corporations, individuals, endowment income, and subscriptions.[citation needed]


Relief and inscription in the Memorial Hallway of the Woodrow Wilson Center

The Board of Trustees, currently led by Chairman Thomas R. Nides, are appointed to six-year terms by the President of the United States. Trustees serve on various committees including executive, audit and finance, development, investment, fellowship, and investment policy.[3]

  • Director, President, and CEO of the Wilson Center: Jane Harman

Board of Directors

  • Chairman: Tom Nides, Vice Chair, Morgan Stanley
  • Vice Chairman: Sander R. Gerber, Chairman and CEO, Hudson Bay Capital Management LP

Woodrow Wilson Awards[edit]

Each year, the Woodrow Wilson Center gives out several awards recognizing members of the community who have shown an outstanding commitment to President Woodrow Wilson's dream of integrating politics, scholarship, and policy for the common good. Recipients fall into two award categories, those receiving the award for Public Service, and those receiving the award for Corporate Citizenship. Awardees are selected by the Board, and distributed at dinners benefitting the Center in different locations each year.


Most of the Center's staff form specialized programs and projects covering broad areas of study.[4] There are approximately 30 programs, some of which are described below.

Africa Program[edit]

The Africa Program, established at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 1999, is focused on engaging and informing the policy community in Washington on Africa and issues of mutual interest to that continent and the United States. Its core mission of promoting high-level dialogue among policymakers, diplomats, non-governmental organizations, experts, field practitioners, and academic specialists on both African issues and U.S. policy toward Africa leverages the Woodrow Wilson Center’s visibility, stature and convening authority.

Cold War International History Project[edit]

The Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) supports the full and prompt release of historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War, seeking to integrate new sources, materials and perspectives from the former "Communist bloc" with the historiography of the Cold War. In particular, it disseminates new information and perspectives from previously inaccessible sources from the former Communist world on the history of the Cold War.

Environmental Change and Security Program[edit]

Main article: Environmental Change and Security Program

The Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) was founded in 1994 to explore the connections among environmental, health, and population dynamics and their links to conflict, human insecurity, and foreign policy.

History and Public Policy Program[edit]

The History and Public Policy Program (HAPP) at the Woodrow Wilson Center focuses on the relationship between history and policy making and seeks to foster open, informed and non-partisan dialogue on historically relevant issues.

Kennan Institute[edit]

Main article: Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute (KI), founded in 1974 as a division of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, is committed to improving American understanding of Russia and the successor states to the Soviet Union.

Kissinger Institute on China and the United States[edit]

The Kissinger Institute on China and the United States (KICUS,Chinese name as 基辛格中美关系研究所) focuses on exploring the political, economic, historical, and cultural relationship between the United States and China. Its goal is to promote a greater understanding between the people of each nation.

Inspired by and dedicated to Dr. Henry A. Kissinger’s vision of the importance of the relationship between these two nations, the Kissinger Institute brings together the most expert thinkers and the most promising policymakers and public officials to promote cross-cultural dialogue and enhanced understanding on a variety of issues.

The Institute is non-partisan[citation needed] and is committed to improving American expertise about China as well as Chinese knowledge about the United States.

The current Director of the Kissinger Institute is Robert Daly.

Middle East Program[edit]

The Middle East Program (MEP) was launched in February 1998. From May 8 until August 21, 2007, the Director of the Middle East Program, Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, was detained in Tehran, Iran in the Evin Prison.[5] She was released on bail and had her passport returned to her on September 2, 2007. Esfandiari was then permitted to leave Iran.[6]

Asia Program[edit]

The History and Public Policy Program (HAPP) sponsored this 2009–2010 exhibit in the Memorial Hallway, Polish People's Republic—So Far Away and So Close By, which depicted key events in Polish history from 1944 to 1989.[7]

The Asia Program provides a forum in the nation's capital for enhancing deeper understanding of, and policy debate about, the Asia-Pacific region. It seeks to furnish an intellectual link between the world of ideas and the world of policy on issues relating to Asia and U.S. interests in Asia. The Program organizes dozens of conferences and other meetings and produces several major publications every year, each featuring the work of Asia specialists ranging from distinguished scholars and prominent policymakers to journalists, entrepreneurs, and grassroots activists.

North Korea International Documentation Project[edit]

Main article: North Korea International Documentation Project

The North Korea International Documentation Project (NKIDP) serves as an informational clearinghouse on North Korea for both the scholarly and policymaking communities by widely disseminating newly declassified documents on the DPRK from its former communist allies as well as other resources that provide valuable insight into the actions and nature of the North Korean state.

Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies[edit]

Main article: Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies was established in 2005 as a partnership between the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Pew Charitable Trusts. The Project is dedicated to helping ensure that, as nanotechnologies advance, possible risks are minimized, public and consumer engagement remain strong, and the potential benefits of these new technologies are realized.


The Woodrow Wilson Center Press publishes books by fellows, other resident scholars, and staff written in substantial part at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°53′37″N 77°01′50″W / 38.8936°N 77.0305°W / 38.8936; -77.0305