Elliott School of International Affairs

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Elliott School of
International Affairs
Elliott School George Washington University logo.png
Motto Building Leaders
for the World
Type Private
Established 1898
Parent institution
The George Washington University
Dean Ambassador
Reuben E. Brigety II
Undergraduates 2,200
Postgraduates 800
Location Washington, D.C., U.S.
Campus Urban - Foggy Bottom
Affiliations APSIA
Website elliott.gwu.edu
Elliott School logo (square).png

The Elliott School of International Affairs (known as the Elliott School or ESIA) is the professional school of international relations, foreign policy, and international development of the George Washington University, in Washington, D.C. The Elliott School is one of the world's most prestigious schools of international affairs and the largest school of international relations in the United States.[1][2][3]

The Elliott School is located across from the U.S. State Department and the Organization of American States, and within blocks of the White House, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. The Carnegie Corporation of New York ranks the Elliott School as one of the world's foremost, leading research institutions in the fields of public and foreign policy, hosting numerous research centers, institutes, and policy programs, such as the Institute for International Economic Policy and The Project on Forward Engagement.[4]

Among its alumni count numerous ambassadors, diplomats, politicians, and public figures, including Chang Dae-whan (former Prime Minister of South Korea), Tammy Duckworth (sitting U.S. Senator), Rose Gottemoeller (current Deputy-General of NATO), Ciarán Devane (current Chief Executive of the British Council), and John Shalikashvili (former Supreme Allied Commander). Notable faculty has included Christopher A. Kojm, former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, Moudud Ahmed, former Prime Minister of Bangladesh, John Negroponte, 1st Director of National Intelligence & U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Amitai Etzioni, former president of the American Sociological Association, and S. M. Krishna, Foreign Minister of India, among numerous others.

Since 2015, the Dean of the Elliott School has been Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety II, former U.S. Ambassador to the African Union and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.[5] Prior to Dean Brigety, Dr. Michael E. Brown was dean from 2005 to 2015, who previously served as Director of the Georgetown University Center for Peace and Security Studies and Associate Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.


The Elliott School is located across the street from the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of the Interior, the American Red Cross headquarters, and the General Services Administration and only blocks away from the White House.

The Elliott School traces its roots to 1898 when the George Washington University first offered studies in international affairs within the School of Comparative Jurisprudence and Diplomacy.[6]

In 1905, the school was replaced with the Department of Politics and Diplomacy, which ran from 1905 to 1907.[6] This department was expanded to include other fields of study and reconstituted as the College of the Political Sciences, a part of the university that operated from 1907 till 1913. At this point, the College was turned into an academic department within the Columbian College and renamed the Department of International Law and Diplomacy. This iteration of the Elliott School functioned from 1913 until 1928.

In 1928, the University once again reorganized its departments. It was in this year that the School of Government was created. This School had the longest run until then, as it remained a part of the University from 1928 till 1960. It was in 1960 that the fields of business and international affairs were added to the school of government, creating thus the School of Government, Business, and International Affairs, working from 1960 until 1966. Then, in 1966, President Lloyd Hartman Elliott split its faculties into a new School of Government and Business Administration (SGBA) and a new School of Public and International Affairs. Running from 1966 until 1987, it was once again renamed and became the School of International Affairs. It was then in 1988 when, in honor of President Elliott and his wife Evelyn, that the school acquired its present name and became the Elliott School of International affairs. At this point it was reorganized to focus exclusively on undergraduate, graduate, and mid-career education in international affairs.

In March 2003, the Elliott School opened its new academic building at 1957 E Street NW. The building was formally opened by then-Secretary of State and GW Alumnus Colin Powell. This building features state-of-the-art lecture halls, classrooms, offices, lounges, and common areas used to host public events. It is diagonally across from the Harry S Truman Building, the headquarters of the United States Department of State through a small park. The school is just east of the headquarters of the American Red Cross and across the road from the United States Office of Personnel Management.

Michael E. Brown served as dean from June 2005 until October 2015. Brown, who founded and directed the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University, has a background in international security, conflict and conflict resolution, and U.S. foreign and defense policy.[7]


Undergraduate programs[edit]

The Elliott School offers undergraduate degrees in the following majors:[8]

  • Asian Studies
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Latin American and Hemispheric Studies
  • International Affairs

The International Affairs major is further broken down by regional and functional concentrations. Functional concentrations include Security Policy, International Politics, Global Public Health, Conflict Resolution, Comparative Political, Economic & Social Systems, Contemporary Cultures & Societies, International Development Studies, International Economics, and International Environmental Resources. Regional concentrations include Africa, Asia, Europe & Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Graduate programs[edit]

The School offers Master of Arts degrees in a variety of fields. There are two main categories of fields of study. One category is regional studies, which include master's degrees in Latin American and Hemispheric Studies, Middle East Studies, Asian Studies, and European and Eurasian Studies. The second category is functional studies, which include master's degrees in International Affairs, International Development Studies, International Science and Technology Policy, International Trade and Investment Policy, Global Communication, and Security Policy Studies.

There are also two special programs besides the Master of Arts. One is for mid-career professionals, called a Masters of International Policy and Practice (MIPP), while the other is a Masters of International Studies (MIS) granted to graduate students attending Elliott School academic partner institutions abroad.

Joint and dual degrees[edit]

The Elliott School building was opened in 2003 in a ceremony featuring then United States Secretary of State and GW alumnus, Colin Powell.

There are also three joint and dual-degrees programs. The Elliott School and the School of Business offer a Master of Arts and Master of Business Administration program, while it partners with the Law School to grant a Master of Arts and Juris Doctor. The third program is a Master of Arts and Master of Public Health, in partnership with George Washington's School of Public Health and Health Services.


  • Global Gender Policy
  • International Science and Technology Policy
  • Nuclear Policy Studies[9]

International studies[edit]

The school runs an independent study abroad program for its graduate students. As a part of its internationally focused education, it encourages graduate students to add an international component to their studies by living in a foreign country. The school believes that the experience is a key part of an education in international affairs because it increases understanding of the world by providing students with a variety of new and unexpected perspectives. The program functions as bilateral partnerships with a number of schools.

The undergraduate students also have the option of studying abroad during their time at the Elliott School. However, the undergraduate program utilizes GW's university-wide study abroad system. Thanks to that, these students have access to nearly 250 study abroad programs.[10]

Reputation & Rankings[edit]

Elliott School Rankings[11]
World Rankings
Foreign Policy - Graduate Programs 7th
U.S. Rankings
Foreign Policy - Undergraduate Programs 8th

The Elliott School is a full member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA), a prestigious association of 34 of the world's leading professional schools of international relations, alongside Harvard's Kennedy School, Princeton's Wilson School, Georgetown's Walsh School, Yale's Jackson Institute, and Johns Hopkins' Nitze School, among other prominent international affairs schools from around the world.

Foreign Policy ranks the Elliott School as being the 8th in the Top U.S. Undergraduate Institutions to Study International Relations 2018, ranking above U.C. Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, Dartmouth College, Brown University, Cornell University, and American University.[12]

Foreign Policy ranks the Elliott School's Masters in International Affairs as the 7th best in the world in its 2018 Inside the Ivory Tower annual report, ranking above Yale University, Stanford University, the London School of Economics, Oxford University, and Cambridge University.[12]

In 2009, a study carried out by researchers at the College of William and Mary found that the Elliott School had the 8th best terminal master's program in the world for those interested in policy careers in international affairs.[13]

Foreign Policy ranks the Elliott School's doctoral programs as the 17th best in the world, out of 54 schools, in its 2018 Inside the Ivory Tower annual report.[12]

QS World University Rankings lists the Elliott School in the "Politics & International Affairs" category as the 30st best school in the world, out of 201 schools.[14]

The Elliott School's Masters in International Affairs is ranked the 1st best in the United States in MastersStudies' Best Masters Programs in International Affairs in the United States 2018.[15]


The Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP) is one of the Elliott School's premier research institutes, collaborating with organizations like the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.

As an integral part of its academic focus and mission, the Elliott School runs a large number of research institutes in a variety of issues. All are run by experts in their respective fields, who lead each institution's research initiatives, conferences, lectures, discussions and other activities.

Adjunct professor Alistair Millar founded and runs the Global Center on Cooperative Security in Washington, as an initiative of the Fourth Freedom Forum. Frank Ciluffo, Director of the GW Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, serves on its advisory board, which collaborates frequently with the Elliott School.

Centers & Institutes[edit]

  • Institute for International Economic Policy
  • Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication
  • Institute for Security and Conflict Studies
  • Institute for International Science and Technology Policy
  • Institute for Global and International Studies
  • Institute for Disaster and Fragility Resilience
  • Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies
  • Institute for Middle East Studies
  • Institute for African Studies
  • Institute for Korean Studies
  • Sigur Center for Asian Studies
  • Space Policy Institute

Research & Policy Programs[edit]

  • The Project on Forward Engagement
  • Brazil Initiative
  • China Policy Program
  • Culture in Global Affairs Program
  • Gender Equity in International Affairs Initiative
  • GW Diaspora Program
  • GW Cold War Group
  • Memory and Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific
  • Partnership for International Strategies in Asia
  • Project on Humanitarian Governance
  • Rising Powers Initiative
  • Taiwan Education and Research Program
  • US-Japan Legislative Exchange Program

Notable faculty & alumni[edit]

Many of the school's former students have gone on to distinguished careers in politics, diplomacy, and journalism, among numerous other fields. Some notable alumni include Chang Dae-whan (former Prime Minister of South Korea), Michael Punke (Vice President of Amazon Web Services and former U.S. Ambassador to the World Trade Organization), Admiral John B. Hayes (16th Commandant of the U.S. Cost Guard; MA '64), General John M. Shalikashvili (Supreme Allied Commander and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; MA '70), Rose Gottemoeller (Deputy General of the NATO; MA '81), Ciarán Devane (Chief Executive of the British Council) Robert P. Jackson (U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and Cameroon), Kurt Volker (U.S. Ambassador to NATO; MA '87), David A. Nadler (Vice-Chairman of Marsh & McLennan Companies), Sahar Nowrouzzadeh (Director for Iran on the U.S. National Security Council), K. T. McFarland (Deputy National Security Advisor; BA '73), Sam Johnson (U.S. Congressman from Texas; MS '74), Kasie Hunt (MSNBC and NBC News correspondent; BA '06), Reona Ito (The American Prize-winning orchestral conductor), and Diana B. Henriques (Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times journalist; BA '69), among numerous others.[16]

Notable current faculty members include Amitai Etzioni (former president of the American Sociological Association), Thomas E. McNamara (former Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs), Karl Inderfurth (former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs), Marc Lynch (Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security), Scott Pace (current Executive Secretary of the National Space Council), Stephen Biddle (Member of the Council on Foreign Relations), Charles Glaser (famed Defensive Realist theorist), David Shambaugh (Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution), Lawrence Wilkerson (former Chief of Staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell), Michael N. Barnett (famed Constructivist theorist), James N Rosenau (former president of the International Studies Association), Martha Finnemore (famed Constructivist theorist), Harry Harding (founding Dean of the Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy), Edward "Skip" Gnehm Jr. (former U.S. Ambassador to Jordan, Kuwait and Australia), James Foster (World Bank Board Advisor), Leon Fuerth (United States National Security Council member under President Bill Clinton), Eric Newsom (former Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs), Ronald D. F. Palmer (former U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia, Mauritius, & Togo), Stephen C. Smith (current Director of the Institute for International Economic Policy), Sabina Alkire (Director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative), John Logsdon (former member of the NASA Advisory Council), Nathan J. Brown (Board Advisor to the Project on Middle East Democracy), and Henry Farrell (Foreign Policy & Washington Post contributor).[17]

Notable past faculty have included Moudud Ahmed (former Prime Minister of Bangladesh), William Luers (former President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art), Joseph LeBaron (U.S. Ambassador to Qatar and Mauritania), William J. Crowe (former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), Thomas J. Dodd Jr. (former U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica & Uruguay), Christopher A. Kojm (former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council), S. M. Krishna (former Foreign Minister of India), and Andrew A. Michta (Adjunct Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°53′46″N 77°02′41″W / 38.8961°N 77.0447°W / 38.8961; -77.0447