Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a division of Johns Hopkins University based in Washington, D.C., United States, with campuses in Bologna, Italy; and Nanjing, China. It is considered one of the top graduate schools for international relations in the world. The institution is devoted to the study of international affairs, economics, diplomacy, and policy research and education.[1]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
Johns Hopkins SAIS Logo
Parent institution
Johns Hopkins University
DeanEliot A. Cohen
WebsiteSAIS Website

Among the political scientists and economists based here are former World Bank Chief Economist Anne Krueger; and military historian and former Counselor of the U.S. Department of State Eliot Cohen. Its students are selected from a large pool of applicants from all parts of the world.[2]

The SAIS Washington D.C. campus is located on Massachusetts Avenue'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 school has hosted world leaders on a regular basis for public debate in international affairs.


The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) was founded in 1943 by Paul H. Nitze and Christian Herter as a standalone graduate school and became part of The Johns Hopkins University in 1950. The school was established during World War II by a group of statesmen who sought new methods of preparing men and women to cope with the international responsibilities that would be thrust upon the United States in the postwar world. Nitze feared the diplomatic and economic expertise developed in World War II might get lost if the nation became isolationist.[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 one of its present buildings on Massachusetts Avenue. In 1986, the Hopkins–Nanjing Center was created in Nanjing, China, completing the school's global presence.

Organization and academic programs

Johns Hopkins SAIS is a global school with campuses in 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.[5] 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.[6]

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 [7] 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.[8] 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 the Foreign Policy magazine. 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 (Walsh), Harvard University (Kennedy), Tufts University (Fletcher), and Columbia University (SIPA). The latest edition of the study was produced in 2014, with the master's program at SAIS ranking second globally after Georgetown (Walsh).

Since 1990, SAIS and the Fletcher School have been the only nonlaw schools in the United States to participate in the prestigious 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 elite law schools such as Georgetown University and the University of Virginia.

SAIS students have also demonstrated their versatility by successfully competing in the Sustainable Innovation Summit Challenge hosted by the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona. Two different SAIS teams won first place in both 2007 and 2008, besting teams of MBA students from some of the world's top business schools.[9][10]

A joint team from SAIS and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business 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 (USAID).[11]

Annual themes

From 2005–2012, 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[12] (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.[13]

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".[14] 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".[15]

The drafting process included six expert group meetings, held in Singapore, Egypt, Costa Rica, Spain, Turkey, and the U.S.[14] 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.[14][16] It was also presented before the 129th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva in October 2013.[14][17][18] Accompanying the Child Protection Model Law, ICMEC and The Protection Project published a companion "100 Best Practices in Child Protection" guide in 2013.[19]

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:

  • 38 North – A blog maintained by the U.S.-Korea Institute about North Korean affairs
  • SAIS Review – A journal on leading contemporary issues of world affairs, founded in 1956
  • SAIS Observer[20] – 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.[12] Over 130 SAIS graduates have become ambassadors for various countries.[21]

Past and present faculty

See also


  1. "Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations | Home". 1. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  2. "SAIS Office of Career Services | For Employers". Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  3. Simpson, Joanne Cavanaugh (April 2000). "Pioneers of Advocacy: Not Just a Cold Warrior". Johns Hopkins Magazine. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  4. Gutner, Tammi L. The Story of SAIS. Washington, D.C.: School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, 1987.
  5. SAIS Prepare to Lead Brochure, released Summer 2009
  6. 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. "Johns Hopkins SAIS Academics | MA Program | Requirements". Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  9. "Thunderbird Names Sustainable Innovation Summit Winners – Press Releases on". 2007-11-13. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  10. "Sustainable Innovation Summit winners announced – Thunderbird School of Global Management". Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  11. "Robert H. Smith School of Business – University of Maryland, College Park". 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  12. "Johns Hopkins SAIS | Year of Religion". Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  13. "Johns Hopkins SAIS | Press Room | SAIS Reports". Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  14. "Drafting Human Rights Legislation Expert Group". The Protection Project.
  15. Katai de Mello Dantas (August 1, 2011) "Protecting Children from Exploitation: Discussions on Creating a Model Law and a Parliamentary Guide", Peace & Collaborative Development Network
  16. "Speeches". The Protection Project.
  17. "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
  18. "129th IPU Assembly; Overview of Main Events and Decisions (Geneva, 7–9 October 2013)", Inter-Parliamentary Union
  19. "100 Best Practices in Child Protection". The Chronicle of Social Change. 2013.
  20. SAIS Observer
  21. Archived October 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  22. U.S. Embassy press release
  23. State department
  24. Popkin, Jim. Ana Montes did much harm spying for Cuba. Chances are, you haven't heard of her. Washington Post Magazine, April 18, 2013.
  25. "Biography of Ambassador WANG Guangya". 2003-11-10. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  26. "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 978-9990530568.

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