Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

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Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Watson Institute Logo.png
PurposeResearch, Teaching, and Public Engagement
Headquarters111 Thayer Street, Providence, RI, 02912
  • USA
Coordinates41.824294, -71.399899
Region served
LeaderEdward Steinfeld
Parent organization
Brown University

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs is an interdisciplinary research center at Brown University. Its mission is to "promote a just and peaceful world through research, teaching, and public engagement."[1] Located on the University's campus in Providence, RI, USA, the Institute's research focuses on three main areas: development, security, and governance. Its faculty include anthropologists, economists, political scientists, sociologists, and historians, as well as journalists and other practitioners. The Institute occupies a modern and architecturally distinctive building designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly and is located close to central campus on Thayer Street.

The Institute is directed by Edward Steinfeld, professor in the Department of Political Science, and director of the China Initiative at Brown University.


Watson Institute for International Studies

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs began to fulfill two parallel missions: "to bring international perspective into the life of Brown University, and to promote peace through international relations research and policy." In 1981, with the support and guidance of 1937 Brown alumnus Thomas J. Watson, Jr., former chairman of IBM and Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Brown University founded the Center for Foreign Policy Development. The Center was formed to explore solutions to the major global issues of the day, foremost of which was the possibility of a nuclear encounter between the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1986, the University created the Institute for International Studies to integrate the Center and Brown's other international programs. In 1991, the Institute was rededicated in Watson's honor. Originally housed in five separate locations on campus, the programs of the Watson Institute moved into its current building, designed by architect Rafael Viñoly, in January 2002.[2] In 2015, the Institute was renamed the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs to reflect the merger between the Watson Institute and the Taubman Center for Public Policy which had previously been housed in the Department of Political Science.


Watson houses three undergraduate degree programs - Development Studies, International Relations and Public Policy. Graduate programs offered at the Watson Institute include the Graduate Program in Development (Ph.D.) and the Public Policy Program (M.P.A). The Graduate Program in Development (GPD) is an NSF-funded, interdisciplinary program that trains PhD candidates in anthropology, political science, economics, and sociology. The Public Policy program is a one-year intensive (summer – fall – spring) full-time degree with a focus on quantitative policy analysis and management. The Institute also offers Post Doctoral, professional development and global outreach programming.

Area studies[edit]

The following area studies centers are based at Watson: the Brazil Initiative, the Africa Initiative, the Center for Contemporary South Asia (CCSA), the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), the China Initiative, and Middle East Studies (MES).

Professional programs[edit]

Two professional outreach programs are based at the Institute. The Brown International Advanced Research Institutes (BIARI) provides the opportunity for junior scholars and practitioners from all over the world to study together at the Institute. According to Watson's website, BIARI "aims to build transnational scholarly networks while also providing opportunities for professional development. Each summer, BIARI brings promising young faculty from the Global South together with leading scholars in their fields for two-week intensive residential institutes."[3]

Choices develops and publishes curriculum resources for high school social studies classrooms, and leads seminars for secondary school teachers. The program's mission is "to equip young people with the skills, habits, and knowledge necessary to be engaged citizens who are capable of addressing international issues with thoughtful public discourse and informed decision making."[3]


The Watson Institute is the editorial home to three academic journals:

Watson also publishes a working paper series, distributed by SSRN:


  1. ^ "About Watson Institute | Watson Institute". Watson.brown.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  2. ^ "Watson Institute History | Watson Institute". Watson.brown.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  3. ^ a b "Education | Watson Institute". Watson.brown.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-04.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°49′31″N 71°24′00″W / 41.82515°N 71.39999°W / 41.82515; -71.39999