Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Director's Message

Welcome to Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Edward Steinfeld

As our mission statement indicates, we are a community of scholars dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding society’s most pressing challenges in ways that are both academically rigorous and relevant to the world.

The Institute’s core faculty of anthropologists, economists, historians, political scientists, sociologists and other specialists work in an interdisciplinary fashion with colleagues from across Brown’s campus and from across the world.  The Institute collaborates with a wide variety of organizations, including the United Nations, national governments, and non-governmental organizations worldwide to seek solutions to today’s most urgent policy challenges.

The Institute today is a hub of vibrant intellectual activity.  Our work combines a focus on three main thematic areas -- development, security, and governance – with rich empirical knowledge generated by our regional programs on Brazil, China, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, and the United States.   All of our work – our research, our teaching, and our public engagement -- is comparative and interdisciplinary in nature.

Watson in recent years has experienced extraordinary growth.  We have expanded the faculty by attracting exceptional scholars across a number of fields.  The Institute today is home to a growing array of undergraduate concentrations and graduate programs, including a recently launched 12-month Master of Public Affairs program.  And, a renewed postdoctoral fellows programs now brings a steady stream of promising early career scholars from across the social science disciplines.  We have every intention of continuing our growth in the years to come.

Every semester, a full agenda of seminar series, conferences, lectures, and workshops brings leading scholars and public figures to the Institute to put current events into context, explore emerging global issues, develop policy, and promote research.

It is a particularly energizing time to be at Watson. Please join our community, and help contribute to a more just and peaceful world.

Edward Steinfeld
Howard R. Swearer Director of the Thomas J. Watson Institute for
International and Public Affairs