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About the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies is a university-wide research and education institution at Stanford devoted to understanding the problems, policies, and processes that cross international borders and affect lives around the world.

Through its interdisciplinary faculty and its 12 centers and research programs, the Institute advances knowledge and understanding of governance, health policy, migration, development, security, and the dynamics of regions such as Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The Institute's faculty lead interdisciplinary research programs, educate graduate and undergraduate students, and organize policy outreach that engages Stanford in solving some of the world's most pressing problems. 


Addressing Global Policy Challenges

At FSI, Stanford scholars address such critically important questions as:
• In an increasingly interconnected world, what measures can nations take alone or together to protect against nuclear, biological or chemical terrorism?
• How can we help current and emerging leaders combat corruption and promote democracy, development, and the rule of law in transitioning countries?
• How can health-care systems around the world best prevent and treat a range of deadly infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, Avian flu, and potential anthrax or smallpox attacks?
• Will greater economic interdependence among Asian countries reduce the aggressive forms of nationalism currently on the rise in the region?
• How can policymakers generate innovative solutions to the silent killer of our time, global hunger and chronic food insecurity?
• How can the European Union and the United States work together effectively to address the complex economic, political, and security issues confronting the global community today?

FSI appoints faculty and research staff, funds research and scholarly initiatives, directs research projects, and sponsors lectures, policy seminars and conferences. By tradition, FSI undertakes joint faculty appointments with Stanford's seven schools and draws faculty together from the University's academic departments and schools to conduct interdisciplinary research on international issues that transcend academic boundaries.

Progress on Old Problems, New Complexities

The ideas that Stanford generates and the leaders it trains influence international policies and organizations. Today's pressing problems, because of their complexity, do not conform to traditional academic categories. Real progress requires a new level of collaboration among faculty in the full range of disciplines represented on campus.

At FSI, this interdisciplinary collaboration has been underway for some time. Scholars at the institute's six major research centers conduct research and teaching on such issues as nuclear proliferation, chemical and bioterrorism, democracy and the rule of law, governance, food security and the environment, conflict prevention and peacekeeping, international health policy and infectious diseases, the political economy and regional dynamics of Asia, European expansion and integration, and European cooperation with the United States on major economic, political, and security challenges. This work is conducted in collaboration with Stanford's world-class schools of business, earth sciences, education, engineering, humanities and sciences, law and medicine.

The "Coming Together Place"

Since the institute's founding in 1987, it has been the "coming together place" on the Stanford campus for faculty, students and visiting scholars. FSI serves as a magnet in another strategic sense – it plays an increasingly prominent role in forging policy recommendations to help solve some of the most persistent problems of our time. A number of prominent FSI faculty have joined the administration and play leading roles on the national and international scene, while others continue to work and advise from the campus.

Researchers from the natural and social sciences at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) collaborate on interdisciplinary projects aimed at reducing threats to security and global tensions to help achieve a more secure world. Some researchers help policymakers analyze and identify practical steps toward reducing the global nuclear threat. Such work includes convening experts in track-two workshops that address North Korea's nuclear program or analyze proliferation risks associated with increased reliance on nuclear power. Others look at the future of international organizations and their effectiveness in fostering global peace and security. CISAC scholars testify in Congress and advise government officials on a variety of issues, such as how to analyze the structural patterns of terrorist groups. Several faculty members, scholars and affiliates are serving in the Obama administration in Washington, D.C., and around the world.

Scholars at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) are researching societal transition, development, and regional cooperation in Asia and bringing new insight to bear on the rise of China, the North Korean nuclear crisis, globalization, investment, and the outsourcing of jobs to South Asia, Japan's economic recovery and new political leadership, and the future of U.S.-Asia alliances. The center has launched path-breaking projects on new beginnings for the U.S.-South Korean alliance and national memory and reconciliation among former war-time adversaries.

The Center for Health Policy and Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research (CHP/PCOR) is tackling critical global health problems, including defense against bio-terrorism, the prevention and treatment of such infectious diseases as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria, and reducing health disparities globally by making medical advances available to poor, underserved communities. The centers have also played a major role in the national debate on health care reform and comparative effectiveness research. The centers' faculty and researchers are drawn from diverse fields, including medicine, law, economics, statistics, sociology and business.

The Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) is helping to foster democracy, economic growth, and the rule of law in transitioning countries, such as Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Kenya, and Nigeria, whose stability is so vital to the global community. CDDRL's innovative Draper Hills Summer Fellows on Democracy and Development Program brings emerging leaders from transitioning countries to Stanford for specialized teaching, training, and outreach to assist with needed political, economic, and judicial reform, the building of sound institutions, and the fight against corruption.

The Europe Center has created a program for new thinking about Europe in the new millennium. The increasingly complex challenges facing Europe and its global relations—including labor migrations, strains on welfare economies, local identities, globalized cultures, expansion and integration, and threats of terrorism—coupled with Europe’s recent struggle to ratify a single constitution, underline the challenges that Europe and the United States share, and the need to bring Stanford’s finest multidisciplinary research into practical policy dialogue with an engaged public.

FSI's newest center, the Center on Food Security and the Environment (FSE), aims to generate innovative and policy-relevant solutions to the persistent problems of global hunger and environmental damage from agricultural practices worldwide. FSE is currently engaged in 17 different research projects, and offer courses for graduate and undergraduate students at Stanford interested in issues of hunger, rural development, global resource and environmental degradation, agricultural technology, climate impacts on food security, and agricultural trade and policy. FSE is a joint center between the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment (Woods). Scholars centrally involved with the center have senior fellow appointments within FSI, Woods, and/or professorial positions within university departments.

FSI also has four research and educational programs. The Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) draws on the fields of political science, law, and economics to investigate how the production and consumption of energy affect sustainable development and human welfare. Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies (IPS) is a two-year, interdisciplinary M.A. program which trains students in application of advanced analytical and quantitative methods to decision making in international affairs. Students focus on an area of policy concentration drawing on expertise of one of six major research centers at Stanford, and engage in a second year practicum where they conduct policy analyses for real world client organizations.Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies (IUC) provides an intensive 10-month training program in advanced Japanese for a select number of undergraduate, graduate, and post graduate students.  The Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) brings timely, age-appropriate, interdisciplinary curriculum materials on international issues, drawing on the research of FSI scholars,  to K-14 schools in the U.S. and independent schools abroad. 

FSI disseminates its research results to a wide audience of policymakers, and a new generation of leaders, in the U.S. and other nations. Bringing Stanford to the world will be a particular focus of the Stanford International Initiative.

Through seminars, conferences and workshops, the institute draws together government officials, policymakers, corporate leaders, non-governmental authorities, other experts and thought leaders to debate major international issues. Institute scholars are frequently appointed to senior government positions, asked to advise international organizations, such as the United Nations, and called upon to testify to the Congress. FSI scholars provide expertise and insight to the media, and help inform public opinion through appearances on television, op-ed pieces in prominent newspapers, and articles in foreign affairs and scholarly journals.

Most of the institute's activities are supported by research grants and gifts from individual and corporate donors. Of the institute's annual budget of approximately $28 million, 85 percent comes in the form of endowment income, foundation grants, contracts and gifts. The remainder is drawn from university and designated funds. FSI actively seeks gifts from Stanford alumni and friends.

In all these ways, in this remarkable "coming together place" known as FSI, Stanford faculty and researchers are developing new knowledge, offering new policy recommendations, and training a new generation of leaders to address the central challenges of our time.

FSI is also a place for talented students to advance their knowledge of international issues. Although the Institute does not grant degrees, it provides opportunities for advanced study through graduate and postdoctoral fellowships. Stanford undergraduates can apply to honors programs in international security studies and democracy, development, and the rule of law. Undergraduates can also be appointed to research internships through the Institute's mentored undergraduate research program.

» Frequently asked questions about the Freeman Spogli Institute

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