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HKS, MIT Launch Joint International Studies Program

Kennedy School graduates raise their globes at last year's Commencement ceremony.
Kennedy School graduates raise their globes at last year's Commencement ceremony. By Lauren A. Sierra
By Benjamin E. Frimodig and Elizabeth H. Yang, Contributing Writers

Harvard Kennedy School is partnering with MIT to launch a joint program aiming to “mentor the next generation of foreign policy scholars,” according to a statement from the Kennedy School earlier this month.

The fellowship—a collaboration between the MIT Security Studies Program at the Center for International Studies in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the Kennedy School—is sponsored by $1.8 million in grants from the Charles Koch Foundation to each respective school.

The program, dubbed the Project on Grand Strategy, Security, and Statecraft, will provide “pre- or postdoctoral fellowships to young scholars from a variety of disciplines working in the broad area of strategy and statecraft, with particular emphasis on the US and its role in the world,” according to the Kennedy School statement.

Stephen M. Walt, a professor of international affairs at the Kennedy School, and Barry R. Posen, a political science professor at MIT, will co-direct the program. Students in the fellowship will spend one year at Harvard and one year at MIT, according to the statement.

“The fellows program will build a community of scholars dedicated to fundamental research on the most critical security problems of our time, and to bringing the fruits of that research to public policy," Posen said.

The fellowship also intends to foster discussion about security issues and appropriate responses with the goal of better informing those taking action, the statement said.

“States are more likely to make sound strategic choices and learn from past mistakes if there is a well-informed and wide-ranging debate on these issues,” Walt said.

“A healthy democracy therefore requires a diverse and well-trained community of independent experts who understand strategy, security, and statecraft and whose work can inform elites and public debates on foreign policy, and especially decisions to use force,” he added.

Beyond the joint fellowship program, the foundation’s funding will be used to “support the research of graduate students in security studies at both institutions,” the statement reads.

“We are excited to support Harvard and MIT’s world-class vision for engaging the next generation of foreign policy scholars as they develop the research and ideas that will inform this discussion,” said William P. Ruger, Vice President of the Charles Koch Foundation.

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