Monday, June 6, 2016

Life as a Research Scholar at the Kennan Institute

Me outside of the Reagan Building.

I just finished my second week as a Research Scholar at the Kennan Institute, part of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Many people have asked what I am doing there this summer so I thought I would devote this post to discussing what I am doing this summer at the Institute!

The Woodrow Wilson Center is the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson the only president who was a political scientist (he received his PhD in political science and worked as a professor before he was president). The Wilson Center is the "nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for Congress, the Administration and the broader policy community." The center brings in scholars and experts from around the world to research topics of national and international importance. According to the website "in the spirit of President Wilson, we build a bridge between the worlds of academia and public policy, to inform and develop solutions to the nation’s problems and challenges." They do this through organized talks and publications on different topics related to policy where they seek to engage and educate the public. There are different regional programs from every region of the world and thematic programs on subjects such as global sustainability, maternal health, history, science, and technology.

Woodrow Wilson Plaza and the Ronald Reagan Building in the background.
The Wilson Center is housed in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center which is the biggest building in DC and the second largest building in the United States after the pentagon. It was the first and only federal building dedicated to both government and private use, mandated by Congress to bring together the country’s best public and private resources to create a national forum for the advancement of trade. Designated as the official World Trade Center, Washington, DC,

The Wilson Center entrance to the Ronald Reagan Building.
My research fellowship is based in the Kennan Institute which is the regional program for Post-Soviet area studies. It is named after George Kennan a nineteenth-century explorer of Russia and Siberia. George F. Kennan an ambassador, scholar, and one of the foremost experts on the Soviet Union living long enough to see both its formation and its demise (he lived until 101 years of age) worked to establish the center in honor of his cousin twice removed. George F. Kennan was ambassador the the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia and one of his first diplomatic posts was to Latvia in 1931. The Kennan collection at the Wilson Center's library is one of the most comprehensive libraries on the Soviet Union in the world.

The Kennan Institute was founded in 1974 with a mission "to build and sustain deep mutual understanding, cooperation, and exchange among intellectual and opinion leaders in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, and the surrounding states—a bedrock for regional and global peace, prosperity and security."

I was awarded a Title VIII-Supported Summer Research Scholarships at the Institute for the summer which is a residential fellowship based in DC where I am working on a subject of policy importance-my book on human trafficking policy adoption and implementation. For more information on that please see my previous blog post. I will be writing about my research and all of the interesting events I will be attending in DC throughout the summer. Stay tuned!

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