Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a graduate school of Johns Hopkins University based in Washington, D.C. with campuses in Bologna, Italy and Nanjing, China. It has consistently been ranked one of the top graduate schools for international relations in the world. It was ranked third in the world in 2015 by Foreign Policy magazine, after being ranked first in 2005 and second in 2014. [1]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Other name
TypePrivate graduate school
Established1943 (1943)
Parent institution
Johns Hopkins University
Academic affiliation
DeanJames Steinberg

38°54′29″N 77°02′24″W

The school is devoted to the study of international relations, diplomacy, national security, economics, and public policy. The school has hosted world leaders on a regular basis for public debate in international affairs.

The Nitze School was established in 1943 by Paul H. Nitze and Christian Herter who were seeking new methods of preparing men and women to cope with the international responsibilities that would be thrust upon the United States in the post-World War II world. Nitze feared the diplomatic and economic expertise developed in World War II might get lost if the nation became isolationist.[2] Originally founded as a standalone graduate school, it became a part of Johns Hopkins University in 1950.[3]

The SAIS Washington, D.C. campus is located on Massachusetts Avenue NW's Embassy Row, just off Dupont Circle and across from the Brookings Institution and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and next to the Center for Global Development and the Peterson Institute.


The Nitze School of Advanced International Studies was established in 1943 by Paul H. Nitze and Christian Herter who were seeking new methods of preparing men and women to cope with the international responsibilities that would be thrust upon the United States in the post-World War II world. Nitze feared the diplomatic and economic expertise developed in World War II might get lost if the nation became isolationist.[2] Originally founded as a standalone graduate school, it became a part of Johns Hopkins University in 1950.[3]

The founders assembled a faculty of scholars and professionals (often borrowed from other universities) to teach international relations, international economics, and foreign languages to a small group of students. The curriculum was designed to be both scholarly and practical. The natural choice for the location of the school was Washington, D.C., a city where international resources are abundant and where American foreign policy is shaped and set in motion. When the school opened in 1944, 15 students were enrolled.[4]

In 1955, the school created the Bologna Center in Italy, the first full-time graduate school located in Europe under an American higher-education system. By 1963, Johns Hopkins SAIS outgrew its first quarters on Florida Avenue and moved to its present location on Massachusetts Avenue. In 1986, the Hopkins–Nanjing Center was created in Nanjing, China, expanding the school's global presence. In January 2019, Johns Hopkins University announced that it had purchased the Newseum building on Pennsylvania Avenue NW and will remodel the building to house SAIS and other Washington, D.C.-based programs.[5]

The school is a member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA), a group of schools of public policy, public administration, and international studies.

Organization and academic programs

Campus building on Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.

Johns Hopkins SAIS is a global school with campuses on three continents. It has nearly 700 full-time students in Washington, D.C.; 190 full-time students in Bologna, Italy; and about 160 full-time students in Nanjing, China. Of these, 60 percent come from the United States and 37 percent from more than 70 other countries.[6] Around 50% are women and 22% are from U.S. minority groups. SAIS Europe is home to the Bologna Center and the only full-time international relations graduate program in Europe that operates under an American higher-education system, and the Hopkins–Nanjing Center, which teaches courses in both Chinese and English, is jointly administered by Johns Hopkins SAIS and Nanjing University.[7]

The school offers multidisciplinary instruction leading to the degrees of Master of Arts for early and mid-career professionals, as well as a Doctor of Philosophy program. Approximately 300 students graduate from the Washington, D.C., campus each year from the two-year Master of Arts program in international relations and international economics. Unlike most other international affairs graduate schools that offer professional master's degrees, Johns Hopkins SAIS requires its Master of Arts candidates to be proficient in another language outside their mother tongue [8] and fulfill the International Ecopass, a one-hour capstone oral examination synthesizing and integrating knowledge from the student's regional or functional concentration and international economics.[9] The oral examination and international economics requirements of the Master of Arts curriculum have been the signature aspects of the school's education.


A study conducted in 2005 examined graduate international relations programs throughout the United States, interviewing over a thousand professionals in the field, with the results subsequently published in Foreign Policy magazine as "Inside the Ivory Tower" rankings. 65 percent of respondents named Johns Hopkins University–SAIS as the best terminal master's program in international relations. SAIS received the most votes, followed by Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. The latest edition of the study was produced in 2014, with the master's program at SAIS ranking second globally after the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. SAIS students and alumni have been informally known as the ‘SAIS Mafia’ among international relations circle especially by networks inside the Beltway owing to their presence within the field and close-knit community.[10]

Since 1990, SAIS and the Fletcher School have been the only non-law schools in the United States to participate in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Competing against full-time law students, SAIS generalists have performed very well. SAIS has twice placed second overall out of 12 schools and advanced to the "final four" in its region. In head-to-head competitions, SAIS has defeated schools such as Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Virginia School of Law.

SAIS students have successfully competed in the Sustainable Innovation Summit Challenge hosted by Arizona State University's Thunderbird School of Global Management. Two different SAIS teams won first place in both 2007 and 2008.[11][12]

A joint team from SAIS and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania received second place in the first "Global Challenge" competition, a first-of-its-kind competition that challenged teams of MBA and other graduate students to develop a public–private venture to support development and the tourism industry in Asia. The competition was organized in 2010 by the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and the U.S. Agency for International Development.[13]

Notable economists affiliated with the school include former World Bank Chief Economist Anne Krueger, and former Fulbright Chair in Economics at Harvard University Michael D. Plummer. Many influential political scientists are also affiliated with the school, including Pulitzer-prize winning historian Anne Applebaum, United States Institute of Peace Board Member Eric Edelman, member of the International Board of Advisors at Oxford University Blavatnik School of Government Vali R. Nasr, former Counselor of the United States Department of State Eliot Cohen, former Chair in Southeast Asian Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Vikram Nehru, former Chairperson of the United Nations Human Rights Council Advisory Committee Obiora Okafor, and former MIT Frank Stanton Chair in Nuclear Security Policy Studies Francis J. Gavin.

Annual themes

From 2005 to 2012, Johns Hopkins SAIS dedicated a substantive theme for each academic year in order to encourage its students, faculty, academic programs, policy centers, and alumni to examine the role of the particular theme within international affairs. These specific themes provided opportunities for the school to review scholarship and exchange views through special lectures, conferences, and guest speakers. The school hosted public events during the following themes of Energy (2005–06), China (2006–07), Elections and Foreign Policy (2007–08), Year of Water (2008–09), Religion[14] (2009–10), Demography (2010–11), and Agriculture (2011–12) and enhanced its fundraising with high-profile public events such as the lecture delivered by then–vice president of BP, Nick Butler, during the Year of Energy in 2005.[15]

Child Protection Project

In June 2009, The Protection Project at SAIS partnered with the Koons Family Institute of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), creating the Child Protection Project, to draft a model law focusing on the issues of child protection; in particular: "neglect, abuse, maltreatment, and exploitation".[16] The primary objectives of the Child Protection Project are to "research existing child protection laws in the 193 member states of the United Nations (UN); convene a series of regional expert working group meetings to establish a common definition for 'child protection'; create a database of national legislation and case law on child protection issues from around the world; and draft, publish, and globally disseminate model child protection legislation".[17]

The drafting process included six expert group meetings, held in Singapore, Egypt, Costa Rica, Spain, Turkey, and the U.S.[16] The final version of the Child Protection Model Law was published in January 2013. It was presented to the members of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child during its 62nd Session in Geneva, Switzerland, in January 2013.[16][18] It was also presented before the 129th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva in October 2013.[16][19][20] Accompanying the Child Protection Model Law, ICMEC and The Protection Project published a companion "100 Best Practices in Child Protection" guide in 2013.[21]

Research centers


In addition to the different books and periodicals edited by SAIS programs or research centers, several school-wide publications are to be mentioned:

  • SAIS Review – A journal on leading contemporary issues of world affairs, founded in 1956
  • SAIS Observer[22] – A student-written, student-run newspaper founded in 2002, the official student newspaper of the global SAIS community
  • SAIS Reports – A newsletter that highlights new faculty, research institutes, academic programs, student and alumni accomplishments, and events at the school, published bimonthly from September through May
  • SAIS Europe Journal of Global Affairs (formally the Bologna Center Journal of International Affairs) – A student-run journal on scholarly contributions to international relations, published online and annually as a print version
  • Centerpiece – The alumni newsletter of the Nanjing Center
  • Working Paper Series – A series of papers managed by the PhD students

Notable alumni

Johns Hopkins SAIS has nearly 17,000 alumni working around the world in approximately 140 countries.[14] Over 130 SAIS graduates have become ambassadors for various countries.[23]

Past and present faculty

  • Fouad Ajami – professor of Middle Eastern studies
  • Lucius D. Battle – former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East and Africa, and president, Middle East Institute; founded SAIS Foreign Policy Institute
  • Peter BergenCNN terrorism analyst and author of Holy War, Inc
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski – former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter
  • Edward B. Burling – partner of the law firm Covington & Burling
  • David P. Calleo – former director of European Studies Program, author of Rethinking Europe's Future
  • Rajiv Chandrasekaran – associate editor, The Washington Post; former SAIS journalist-in-residence for the International Reporting Project, author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone
  • Eliot A. Cohen – professor of strategic studies and director of the Strategic Studies Program, former counselor of the U.S. Department of State, author of Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy of Failure in War and Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime
  • W. Max Corden – trade economist, developed Dutch disease model
  • Francis Deng – former representative of the UN Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons
  • Luis Ernesto Derbez – Mexican minister of finance and foreign affairs
  • David Dodge – former governor of the Bank of Canada
  • Eric S. Edelman – former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, former U.S. Ambassador to Finland and Turkey, visiting scholar at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies and Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
  • Jessica Einhorn – former dean of SAIS, member of the Board of Directors of Time Warner, former director of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a former managing director of the World Bank
  • Francis Fukuyama – former director of the SAIS International Development program, and author of The End of History and the Last Man
  • Grace Goodell – professor of international development
  • Jakub J. Grygiel – George H. W. Bush Assistant Professor of International Relations
  • Christian Herter – former U.S. Secretary of State and Governor of Massachusetts
  • Josef Joffe – German journalist
  • Mara Karlin - assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and capabilities
  • Majid Khadduri – professor of Islamic law and Middle East specialist
  • Kenneth H. Keller – former director of the SAIS Bologna Center, former president of the University of Minnesota system
  • Pravin Krishna – Chung Ju Yung Professor of International Economics and Business
  • Cornelius C. (Neil) Kubler – former American co-director of the Hopkins–Nanjing Center.
  • Anne O. Krueger – professor of international economics, former first deputy managing director of the IMF and World Bank Chief Economist; former president, American Economic Association
  • Andrew Kuchins – former President of American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia and Russia expert.
  • David M. Lampton – George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies, Director of the China Studies Program, and former dean of faculty
  • Paul Linebarger – former professor of Asian studies, best known as a science fiction author under the pseudonym Cordwainer Smith
  • Marisa Lino – former director of the SAIS Bologna Center, former U.S. Ambassador to Albania, and former assistant secretary for international affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Michael Mandelbaum – professor of American foreign policy
  • John E. McLaughlin – former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution
  • Robert H. MundellNobel Prize in Economics laureate, 1999
  • Kendall Myers – former U.S. Foreign Service Officer and SAIS part-time faculty member who was arrested in 2009 on charges of 30 years of espionage on behalf of Cuba
  • Azar Nafisi – Iranian-American academic and author of Reading Lolita in Tehran and "Things I've Been Silent About"
  • Paul H. Nitze – drafter of NSC 68 modifying the U.S. Cold War strategy of containment from a primarily economic and diplomatic strategy to one based more fully on military confrontation
  • Don Oberdorfer – journalist, Korea expert
  • Robert E. Osgood – third dean of SAIS, former director of the American Foreign Policy program and co-director of the Security Studies program, and former member of the U.S. Secretary of State's Policy Planning Council from 1983 to 1985.[28]
  • Henry Paulson – former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, distinguished visiting fellow at the Bernard Schwartz Forum on Constructive Capitalism
  • Riordan Roett – professor of Latin American studies
  • Stephen M. Schwebel – former Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law and Organization at SAIS and former judge and president of the International Court of Justice, currently leading international arbitrator and counsel in Washington, D.C.
  • András Simonyi – former ambassador of Hungary to the United States
  • Robert Skidelsky – economist, biographer of John Maynard Keynes
  • R. Jeffrey Smith – former journalist-in-residence, Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Stephen Szabo – former professor of European studies, current head of the Transatlantic Academy at the German Marshall Fund
  • Shirin R. Tahir-Kheli – former research professor, former Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council senior director for democracy, human rights and international operations
  • Nate Thayer (Visiting Scholar) – investigative journalist who interviewed Pol Pot and Kang Kek Iew
  • Dale C. Thomson – director of the Center of Canadian Studies, author, Secretary/Advisor to Canadian Prime Minister, Louis St. Laurent
  • Robert W. Tucker – former professor of American foreign policy, and co-author of The Imperial Temptation: The New World Order and America's Purpose
  • David Unger – journalist, member of The New York Times editorial board, author of The Emergency State: America's Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs
  • Ruth Wedgwood – Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, and Director of the Program in International Law and Organizations; U.S. member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee
  • Paul Wolfowitz – former president of the World Bank, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, former dean of SAIS
  • I. William Zartman – former professor and director of the SAIS Conflict Management program
  • Alejandro Toledo (visiting scholar) – former president of Peru
  • Yascha Mounk — associate professor of the Practice, known for work on populism

See also

  • Professorial Lecturer, a specialised title used for an academic expert at the school
  • SAIS Bologna Center
  • Hopkins-Nanjing Center
  • Walter Hines Page School of International Relations, something of a predecessor school at Johns Hopkins


  1. "The Best International Relations Schools in the World". Foreign Policy.
  2. Cavanaugh Simpson, Joanne (April 2000). "Pioneers of Advocacy: Not Just a Cold Warrior". Johns Hopkins Magazine. Baltimore, Maryland. OCLC 644322652. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  3. "The Johns Hopkins Gazette: October 21, 2002". Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  4. Gutner, Tammi L. The Story of SAIS. Washington, D.C.: School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, 1987.
  5. "Newseum to Move as Johns Hopkins Announces Building Purchase".
  6. "SAIS Prepare to Lead Brochure, released Summer 2009" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-10-14. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  7. See Norton Wheeler, Role of American NGOs in China's Modernization: Invited Influence (Routledge, 2014) online review, on the history of the Nanjing Center
  8. "Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) | Johns Hopkins SAIS".
  9. "Johns Hopkins SAIS Academics | MA Program | Requirements". Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  10. Ma, Damien (2011-04-21). "The Surprising Similarities Between Beijing and DC's Elites". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  11. "Thunderbird Names Sustainable Innovation Summit Winners – Press Releases on". 2007-11-13. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  12. "Sustainable Innovation Summit winners announced – Thunderbird School of Global Management". Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  13. "Robert H. Smith School of Business – University of Maryland, College Park". 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  14. "Johns Hopkins SAIS | Year of Religion". Archived from the original on 2012-03-02. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  15. "Johns Hopkins SAIS | Press Room | SAIS Reports". Archived from the original on 2012-03-02. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  16. "Drafting Human Rights Legislation Expert Group". The Protection Project.
  17. Katai de Mello Dantas (August 1, 2011) "Protecting Children from Exploitation: Discussions on Creating a Model Law and a Parliamentary Guide" Archived 2014-12-05 at the Wayback Machine, Peace & Collaborative Development Network
  18. "Speeches". The Protection Project.
  19. "Panel Discussion (Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights) (Geneva, 7–9 October 2013); The Role of Parliaments in Protecting the Rights of Children, in Particular Unaccompanied Migrant Children, and in Preventing their Exploitation in Situations of War and Conflict", Inter-Parliamentary Union
  20. "129th IPU Assembly; Overview of Main Events and Decisions (Geneva, 7–9 October 2013)", Inter-Parliamentary Union
  21. 100 Best Practices in Child Protection. The Chronicle of Social Change. Vol. 3. 2013.
  22. "The SAIS Observer". The SAIS Observer.
  23. (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on October 4, 2007. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. "U.S. Embassy press release". Archived from the original on 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  25. Department Of State. The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs. "Herbst, John E."
  26. Popkin, Jim. Ana Montes did much harm spying for Cuba. Chances are, you haven't heard of her. Washington Post Magazine, April 18, 2013.
  27. "Biography of Ambassador WANG Guangya". 2003-11-10. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  28. "Osgood Center for International Studies". Retrieved 2011-08-10.

Further reading

  • Wheeler, Norton. Role of American NGOs in China's Modernization: Invited Influence (Routledge, 2014) 240 pp. online review, on Nanjing Center
  • Gutner, Tammi L. The Story of SAIS (School of Advanced International Studies, 1987). ISBN 978-9-9905-3056-8.
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