Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Senior Fellows Program

The Watson Institute Senior Fellows program is designed to bring leading policymakers and public intellectuals from around the world to Brown University to offer fresh thinking on contemporary global issues. Senior fellows receive a one-year appointment at Brown University through the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Fellows are encouraged to lead student study groups each semester, and throughout the year to attend student/faculty discussions, visit courses, host public events, and mentor undergraduate and graduate students through office hours. Recent fellows include Menaka Guruswamy, senior advocate at the Supreme Court of India, former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, former Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, writer ZZ Packer, and Jim Yong Kim, former president of the World Bank.

About Study Groups

Senior Fellow study groups provide an opportunity for students to delve deeply into policy and international affairs topics and apply theory and research to real world challenges.


They are open to undergraduates and graduate students from all concentrations. The study groups are designed be accessible to students across different fields and to avoid infringing on students’ coursework. Fellows often invite guest speakers to address specific topics. Background reading is usually assigned for each session but is kept to a minimum. Group size is kept small to promote student participation and conversation, and participating students are expected to attend all five meetings.

Current Study Groups

Girls’ Education and Gender Equality
Led by: Kakenya Ntaiya
This study group will explore how progress toward gender equality has been undermined further by the Covid-19 pandemic and how small non-governmental organizations tackle gender inequality to create a better world for women and girls in East Africa.

Promoting Human Rights in an Increasingly Challenging and Autocratic World
Led by: Keith Harper
This study group will evaluate the means by which the United States - as a core part of its foreign policy - promotes the observance of human rights.

Leadership and Governance in Challenging Times
Led by: Tom Perez
This study group aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice and give you a front row seat to problem solving in and around a government setting.

Study Group Leaders

Keith M. Harper

Ambassador (ret.) Keith M. Harper

Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs

Areas of Interest: Multilateral Diplomacy, Human Rights, Foreign Policy, National Security, American Indian Law & Policy, the Sustainable Development Goals, Domestic Political and Judicial Reform and Social Justice.

Jim Yong Kim

Jim Yong Kim

Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs


Former Senior Fellows