Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

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Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Woodrow Wilson Center logo.svg
Established1968; 53 years ago (1968)
TypeGovernment organization Think tank
Legal statusUnited States Presidential Memorial
HeadquartersRonald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
  • Washington, D.C. 20007
President Emerita & Distinguished Fellow
Jane Harman
Key people
Mark Andrew Green (Director), Bill Haslam (Chairman)
AffiliationsSmithsonian Institution

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 recognized think tank, and was ranked among the top ten in the world in 2013.[1]

Named in honor of President Woodrow Wilson, the only president of the United States to hold a PhD,[2] 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."[3]

In 2020, the Wilson Center was ranked by the University of Pennsylvania's Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program as the tenth best think tank in the world, the number eight think tank in the U.S., the world's number three think tank for institutional collaboration, and fourth in international development, and as a Center of Excellence for regional studies.[4]

On January 28, 2021, Mark Andrew Green was announced as the Wilson Center's next president, director and CEO. He began his term on March 15, 2021.[5]


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.


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 itself is housed in a wing of the Ronald Reagan Building, a federal office building where the Center enjoys a 30-year rent-free lease. The remainder of the Center's funding comes from foundations, grants and contracts, corporations, individuals, endowment income, and subscriptions.[citation needed] Because of its historic reliance on congressional appropriations, the Center posts on its website a Plan for Federal Funding Hiatus.[6]


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

The board of trustees, currently led by Bill Haslam, 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.[7]

Board of Directors

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.[8] There are approximately 14 programs, some of which are described below.

Africa Program[edit]

Established in 1999, the Wilson Center's Africa Program focuses on international affairs issues as affect Africa, conducts programmatic work to train and mentor rising leaders in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and facilitates meetings between the policymaking communities of Washington, D.C., and Africa.[9] Its current director is Monde Muyangawa.[10]

Asia Program[edit]

The Wilson Center's Asia Program analyzes the politics, policy, culture, and issues of the broader Asia-Pacific region, encompassing a region stretching from Afghanistan to Japan.[11]

Brazil Institute[edit]

Since its founding in 2006, the Brazil Institute has focused on analyzing and convening panels to discuss Brazilian politics, economics, and the country's global profile.[12]

Canada Institute[edit]

Founded in 2001, the Canada Institute analyzes Canada-U.S. relations, trade, and Canada's international role as polar ice melts.[13]

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 Eastern 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.

In 2011, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars partnered with East China Normal University (ECNU), Shanghai, to launch the ECNU-Wilson Center Cold War Studies Initiative, it is supported by the Wilson Center's flagship Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) and ECNU's Cold War International Studies Center, the first Cold War Studies center in China.

Environmental Change and Security Program[edit]

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.

Global Europe Program[edit]

The Global Europe Program addresses vital issues affecting the European continent, U.S.-European relations, and Europe’s ties with the rest of the world. Catherine Ashton serves as the Global Europe Bank of America Chair and Daniel S. Hamilton serves as the director of the program.

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]

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 analyzes the political, economic, historical, and cultural relationships between the United States and China. Named after Henry A. Kissinger, who as secretary of state was instrumental in opening diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China.[14] Its current director is Robert Daly.[15]

Latin American Program[edit]

The Latin American Program bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action in Latin America. It fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Its current director is Cynthia Arnson.

Mexico Institute[edit]

The Wilson Center's Mexico Institute conducts original research and analysis on Mexico's economy, convenes meetings, and proposes public policies.[16] The institute focuses on five key areas: Mexico's security and rule of law, economic competitiveness (both of Mexico and the transnational economies along the border), migration, the U.S.-Mexico border, and energy issues.

Middle East Program[edit]

The Middle East Program, launched in 1998, analyzes geopolitical, cultural, and social trends in the Middle East and North Africa region.[17] From May 8 until August 21, 2007, Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, then-director of the Middle East Program, was imprisoned in Tehran, Iran, in the Evin Prison.[18] She was released on bail and had her passport returned to her on September 2, 2007. Esfandiari was then permitted to leave Iran.[19] The former director of the Middle East Program is Dr. Henri Barkey.[20]

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.[21]

North Korea International Documentation Project[edit]

The North Korea International Documentation Project translates and disseminates newly declassified documents about North Korea, largely drawing from its former communist allies.[22] The documents are then distributed on the Wilson Center's Digital Archive site[23] and curated in the project's dossier series.[24]

Polar Institute[edit]

Since its inception in 2017, the Polar Institute has become a premier forum for discussion and policy analysis of Arctic and Antarctic issues, and is known in Washington, DC and elsewhere as the Arctic Public Square. The Institute holistically studies the central policy issues facing these regions—with an emphasis on Arctic governance, climate change, economic development, scientific research, security, and Indigenous communities—and communicates trusted analysis to policymakers and other stakeholders.

Science and Technology Innovation Program[edit]

The Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) focuses on understanding bottom-up, public innovation; top-down, policy innovation; and, on supporting responsible and equitable practices at the point where new technology and existing political, social, and cultural processes converge. Many projects focus on the international nature of science and technology, such as the Global Mosquito Alert Consortium[25] and upcoming Earth Challenge 2020[26] project. Key themes in STIP's work include citizen science; cyber security, through the Digital Futures Project;[27] and serious games, through the Serious Games Initiative.[28]   

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McGann, James (January 22, 2014). "2013 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report" (PDF). Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-07. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  2. ^ Link, Arthur (1978). "Wilson, Woodrow". A Princeton Companion. Princeton University.
  3. ^ "About Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars". Wilsoncenter.org. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
  4. ^ McGann, James (2021-01-28). "2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report". TTCSP Global Go to Think Tank Index Reports.
  5. ^ "Wilson Center Names Ambassador Mark Green as Next President, Director and CEO | Wilson Center". www.wilsoncenter.org. Retrieved 2021-01-29.
  6. ^ "Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Plan for Federal Funding Hiatus" (PDF). Woodrow Wilson Center. August 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Leadership". 7 June 2011.
  8. ^ "Programs @ The Woodrow Wilson Center". Wilsoncenter.org. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
  9. ^ "The Burundi Leadership Training Program". Wilson Center. 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  10. ^ "Monde Muyangwa". Wilson Center. 2014-03-19. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  11. ^ "About". Wilson Center. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  12. ^ "About". Wilson Center. 2012-01-18. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  13. ^ "About". Wilson Center. 2011-07-12. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  14. ^ "About". Wilson Center. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  15. ^ "Robert Daly". 22 July 2011.
  16. ^ "About". 11 July 2011.
  17. ^ "About". 11 July 2011.
  18. ^ Wright, Robin (May 8, 2007). "Tehran Jails Iranian American Scholar After Long House Arrest". The Washington Post.
  19. ^ "Freed Scholar Leaves Iran to Meet Family". The New York Times. Associated Press. September 3, 2007.[dead link]
  20. ^ "Bio: Henri J. Barkey". Wilsoncenter.org. 2014-01-28. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  21. ^ "Photo Exhibition: Polish People's Republic—So Far Away and So Close By". Wilsoncenter.org. 2014-01-28. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
  22. ^ "About". Wilson Center. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  23. ^ "Wilson Center Digital Archive". digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org.
  24. ^ "NKIDP e-Dossier Series". 7 July 2011.
  25. ^ "Global Mosquito Alert". Wilson Center. 2015-09-19. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  26. ^ "Press Release: Earth Challenge 2020 A Citizen Science Initiative | Earth Day Network". Earth Day Network. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  27. ^ "Digital Futures Project". Wilson Center. 2015-08-27. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  28. ^ "Serious Games Initiative". Wilson Center. 2017-08-15. Retrieved 2018-10-22.

External links[edit]

Media related to Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at Wikimedia Commons

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