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$1 million Carnegie grant boosts new International Policy Institute

September 23, 2014

In 2013, the Jackson School hosted U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (2nd District) for a briefing on China with UW faculty. A new International Policy Institute will improve collaboration and sharing of policy research and historical perspective with business leaders and policymakers.

Thanks to a $1 million grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York, the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies will improve its sharing of critical research with foreign policy, development and business leaders through the establishment of a new International Policy Institute.

One of the first goals of the International Policy Institute is to train Jackson School faculty to better communicate their knowledge to a non-academic audience. By translating peer-reviewed academic publications into blogs, policy papers, podcasts, op-ed pieces and public talks focused on the practical implications of research, their work will reach more of the important groups and individuals shaping foreign policy.

The Carnegie grant will provide resources needed by faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows who collaborate with policymakers and other stakeholders in business and civil society. The IPI plans to host its first webinar during winter quarter and establish a training program for students linked to community stakeholders. Themes the IPI will likely address include: Asian governance, religion and human security, the Arctic, outer space and cyberspace.

The School’s insights help leaders make better decisions, know where to focus effort, and gain a deep historical perspective. In recent years, faculty have briefed congressional representatives such as Adam Smith and Rick Larsen on specific world regions. Students too play a role in connecting policymakers with research. Each winter, Rep. Smith advises a group of students who research and prepare a report on a topic he is interested in as part of the Task Force capstone class. Student research also expands into the world of business where select students collaborate with local companies such as Starbucks and Microsoft on applied research projects. This spring, a group of students partnered with Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group to build an analytical assessment of cybersecurity in Southeast Asia.

The International Policy Institute will host conferences and webinars where local stakeholders will engage with their counterparts across the nation and world. By building a network of people engaged in international policy, the Jackson School will make sure the work of their faculty is available to the public; work that goes beyond simply critiquing existing policy and uses comparative, case-based research to suggest new approaches to existing problems.

This will build on the Jackson School’s annual forums in Washington, D.C. and Seattle, during which Jackson School faculty join with representatives from the policy world, business, and nongovernmental agencies to provide insights on major international policy issues.

The international policy world involves numerous players – nongovernmental organizations, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, private companies and even celebrities are shaping international priorities – but often they don’t have the resources to effectively share information. The new institute will give them a space to collaborate and address issues like Asia’s growing role on the global stage, the role religion plays in security, new questions about international relations in the Arctic, and the emerging fields of international relations in both cyberspace and outer space.

“Thanks to this grant, our new International Policy Institute will make it possible for us to continue to work with our partners and make important contributions to U.S. foreign policy,” said Jackson School Director Reşat Kasaba. “For many years, we have worked with the companies and non-profit organizations of the globally connected Pacific Northwest to address critical international challenges, and brought the results of this work to policymakers. This generous award will allow us to further our vision of bridging the gap between our work and the work of policy, development, security and business practitioners.”

The Jackson School trains students to take their knowledge into the foreign policy realm through innovative programs like Task Force, which simulates a policy briefing to senior government staffers. Housed in UW’s College of Arts and Sciences, the school excels in interdisciplinary studies and can provide policymakers with “big picture” frameworks for understanding complex issues that they cannot find elsewhere.

This publication was made possible in part by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.