Global reach: Slaughter leads Wilson School's growing international influence

Anne-Marie Slaughter

For biographical information on Anne-Marie Slaughter, see the April 30, 2007, Princeton Weekly Bulletin. Photo: Denise Applewhite

From the April 30, 2007, Princeton Weekly Bulletin

When the Princeton Project on National Security released its final report this fall, its recommendations for new strategies to secure America's future were unveiled on Capitol Hill and presented over the next few months to policymakers and scholars across the United States as well as in China and Germany.

The project — a two-year, bipartisan collaboration of more than 400 academics, government officials, diplomats and other leading thinkers — exemplifies the expanding global reach of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and its dean, Anne-Marie Slaughter.

Slaughter, who graduated from the Wilson School in 1980 and returned as its dean in 2002, is fortifying the school by recruiting top scholars on American and global policy issues. She is leading efforts to raise its profile and influence among U.S. and international policymakers, building partnerships within the University and beyond campus.

"Dean Slaughter has had a stunningly successful five years as dean of the Woodrow Wilson School, in which she has exceeded my very high expectations," said President Shirley M. Tilghman. "With her colleagues in the school and the Department of Politics she has reclaimed our historic strength in international relations, bringing distinguished junior and senior faculty to Princeton such as Robert Keohane, considered one of the most pre-eminent international relations scholars of his generation.

"She has created innovative new programs like the Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative, which is designed to attract students from regional studies and the sciences and engineering into government service," Tilghman added. "She also has reached out beyond Scudder Plaza to create partnerships with the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Princeton Environmental Institute, where there is a natural intersection between technology and public policy. Finally, she led the school in a yearlong celebration of its 75th anniversary, reconnecting many of our alumni with the extraordinary work that is going on in the school."

Joseph Nye, former dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Wilson School alumnus, said of Slaughter, "She has reaffirmed the policy mission of the school. It definitely has a stronger international reputation today … and she has positioned it well for leadership in meeting the myriad challenges" of international public policy.

Advising world leaders

During Slaughter's tenure as dean, policymakers, journalists and others frequently have sought Wilson School faculty members for insights on critical issues facing an increasingly complicated, interdependent world.

Slaughter, who is the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs, often is engaged by leaders in Washington and abroad to offer views on issues of international law and foreign policy. This fall, for example, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice selected Slaughter to chair a committee to advise Rice on issues related to promoting democracy and formulating and implementing foreign policy and international aid.

Slaughter cited recent examples of other members of the school's faculty who have shared their expertise on key issues: Christopher Chyba, an astrophysicist and international affairs expert, is advising the United Nations on bioterrorism; economists Gene Grossman and Esteban Rossi-Hansberg last summer spoke with central bankers and economists from around the world about the rise and impact of outsourcing; Larry Bartels, director of the school's Center for the Study of Democratic Politics, co-organized a 2005 conference on the conservative movement that attracted participants from major Washington think tanks and national media outlets; and Angus Deaton, an authority on international economics, was commissioned by the World Bank in 2005-06 to lead an evaluation of its research activities.

Slaughter said it is imperative for Wilson School faculty "to engage more with policymakers and direct policy issues, and we certainly have done that. We have seminars in Washington, much more outreach in terms of our general publications and policy briefs, faculty members testifying before Congress and faculty members going into government.

"If you ask anyone in Washington they would say that our profile is much, much higher — that they're aware of what we're doing and they know who to contact," she said. "Our faculty are still doing the highest-quality academic research, but we're more in the habit of translating that research in various ways and putting it into the world of public affairs."

Mike McCurry, who served as White House spokesman in the Clinton administration and is now a partner at the consulting firm Public Strategies Washington, said, "The school has greatly enlarged its footprint here in Washington through programs and outreach. You see Wilson School experts quoted more often and consulted more often by lawmakers and regulators.

"In the international arena, Dean Slaughter's own provocative and textured arguments in op-eds and other articles have helped position her and the school as a thought leader in the most critical areas of foreign policy," added McCurry, a Wilson School alumnus who serves on the school's advisory council.

Pioneering efforts

McCurry also lauded Slaughter's efforts to promote careers in public service. In 2006, the Wilson School launched the Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative, a program designed to encourage more of the nation's top students to pursue careers in the U.S. federal government, especially in the field of international relations (see related story). "Her creative thinking about career development and her enthusiasm for directing strong candidates to government service is really genuine and important," McCurry said.

Slaughter said, "I want us to be playing a pioneering role in revitalizing government service because the government really needs it, and all schools of public affairs have seen a move out of the government and into nongovernmental public service."

Another highly visible initiative during Slaughter's tenure is the Princeton Project on National Security, which she directed with Professor G. John Ikenberry. The multifaceted effort resulted in a series of recommendations for long-term strategies on key issues facing the United States, such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation, instability in the Middle East and East Asia, global pandemics and energy.

James Steinberg, dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas and a contributor to the Princeton Project, cited the effort as an example of Slaughter's "energetic and visionary" leadership.

"She really has been a very impressive and important figure in the national debate over the future of American foreign policy," Steinberg said. "The Princeton Project on National Security was a tremendous effort — not only in the quality of the product, but also the process, which brought together so many people with so many different perspectives. It is one of the most exciting activities to take place in the last couple of years in the intellectual world of thinking about long-term U.S. interests and challenges."

Keohane, a renowned theorist who also contributed to the Princeton Project, said when he joined the Wilson School faculty in 2005 that he looked forward to dealing more directly with policy issues. In January, Keohane joined Slaughter, Ikenberry and other Wilson School faculty in Beijing and Shanghai. Slaughter and Ikenberry presented the Princeton Project report and then participated, with Keohane, in two daylong sessions with Chinese experts on multilateralism.

"The Chinese have very strikingly followed the kinds of precepts that some scholars, such as Slaughter and Ikenberry and myself, have been putting forward … that to have influence over a wide variety of countries it's efficient to do so in the context of international institutions, where you can work simultaneously with a number of states," Keohane said. "It would be too much to say that the Chinese are using the theoretical work from scholars in America — they arrived at these conclusions on their own — but it is heartening that they are following a course of action that is consistent with the ideas that we have been developing. If I weren't at Princeton, I never would have the opportunity for such extensive, in-depth discussions with top Chinese scholars. This has been for me a valuable experience for which I am grateful."

Along with Keohane and Ikenberry, Slaughter has recruited a number of top international affairs scholars, including: Thomas Christensen, an expert in Chinese foreign policy and international security, who is currently on leave while serving as deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs; Jennifer Widner, an authority on development policy, rule of law, democratization and African politics; and Helen Milner, a scholar of international trade and globalization who directs the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance. The center was established in 2004 by the Wilson School as a focal point for interdisciplinary research and outreach on issues of globalization.

Slaughter also has brought in noted policymakers and diplomats to take visiting teaching posts at the Wilson School, including former U.S. Rep. James Leach, former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer.

"Dean Slaughter is exceptionally gifted in balancing the need for strong academics at the school with the experience and insights of practitioners," McCurry said. "She has recruited top-flight experts from the world of policymaking without compromising the academic integrity of the program. The place is buzzing with seminars, speeches and symposia, and all of it helps put Princeton at the center of many national debates."

In recent years, the Wilson School has attracted many major public figures to campus for lectures and to meet with faculty and students, including Rice, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Upon the end of his term as U.N. Secretary-General in late 2006, Kofi Annan chose the Wilson School to host his lecture on the dangers of nuclear proliferation, one of his four parting addresses to the international community.

"Another major goal has been to make the Woodrow Wilson School a collective asset for the whole University," Slaughter said. "I want the school to be the University's nexus with the world of public and international affairs."

Expanding collaborations
Reflecting the growing need for interdisciplinary collaboration on campus, the Wilson School is expanding beyond its traditional affiliations with politics, economics and sociology to establish ties with areas such as engineering, environmental science and architecture. The school also plans to extend its master's in public policy program to applicants who are trained in the natural sciences, medicine or engineering "who can apply their knowledge to the solution of public problems," Slaughter said.

The school also has forged partnerships with public policy schools, think tanks and other institutions on a range of ventures, such as: the Future of Children journal, published with the Brookings Institution and co-edited by faculty members Christina Paxson, Cecilia Rouse and Sara McLanahan; PolicyNet, an online networking tool for public policy research; the multi-institution Global Network on Inequality founded by Professor Katherine Newman; and the University Channel, which makes public lectures from a consortium of universities available for viewing on TV and the Internet.

"Dean Slaughter not only has brought terrific new faculty to the school, but also has established very exciting collaborations within the United States and outside the country," said Steinberg of the University of Texas, a partner in the University Channel, PolicyNet and other ventures. "She has done a spectacular job in trying to figure out how to harness modern information technology to disseminate the ideas and research that come out of both the Wilson School and the collaborations that are taking place with others."

Slaughter stressed that the Wilson School benefits from the creativity and drive of its faculty, students, alumni and its many collaborators. "The very best part of my job is when someone comes to me with an idea and I get to help make that idea a reality or bring people together who can make things happen," she said.

In addition to forging partnerships for the Wilson School, Slaughter is working to help the University consider broader opportunities for international collaboration. Slaughter and Jeremy Adelman, chair of the history department, are co-chairing the President's Advisory Committee on Internationalization, which Tilghman created earlier this year. The committee is exploring issues such as when Princeton might enter into partnerships with research and educational institutions in other countries or whether the University should consider establishing and operating overseas facilities. A final report is expected by July.

For the 2007-08 academic year, Slaughter will be on leave in China, where she and her husband, Andrew Moravcsik, director of Princeton's European Union Program, will spend the year at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies. "My goal is to absorb as much as I can about China and, more broadly, Asia," she said, noting that the region will be an increasingly vital area of focus for the Wilson School along with issues such as globalization, international institutions and health policy.

"I don't think anybody can study international relations without really knowing Asia now," Slaughter said. "You may not speak the languages or be a specialist, but you better know Asia at least as well as anyone of my generation understood the Soviet Union and Europe."

Slaughter traveled to Japan last spring for a symposium in Tokyo as part of the Wilson School's yearlong celebration of its 75th anniversary. There she worked with event co-chair Hidehiro Konno, Japan's former vice minister of economy, trade and industry, who said he and fellow Wilson School alumni in Tokyo were "struck with her vigor and vitality in pursuing her goal of gaining prominence of the school worldwide."

That same drive will help the Wilson School continue to expand the reach of its work on U.S. public policy, according to McCurry.

"I see Dean Slaughter and the Wilson School setting the table for several very serious and probing conversations about the future of U.S. foreign policy," he said. "I think the school and its faculty will continue to challenge national leaders to think hard about the toughest problems we face in the world and, in doing so, Princeton will make a real contribution 'in the service of all nations' as we sort through new directions for our nation's international role."