Conference to launch new Center for International Security Studies

The launch of the Center for International Security Studies (CISS), a new research center in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, will be marked with a conference Thursday and Friday, April 30-May 1, in Robertson Hall.

The center will be co-directed by Aaron Friedberg, a professor of politics and international affairs and former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, and John Ikenberry, a professor of politics and international affairs and the academic co-chair of the Princeton Project on National Security, a multiyear, bipartisan initiative to develop a new national security strategy for the United States.

The launch conference, titled "International Security in a New Era of Crisis," will kick off with a keynote speech by renowned Cold War historian John Lewis Gaddis, the Robert A. Lovett Professor of History at Yale University, at 4:30 p.m. April 30 in Dodds Auditorium.

The conference will continue with a panel discussion on "American Grand Strategy and the Obama Administration" at 9 a.m. May 1 in 16 Robertson. The panel will include: Peter Beinart, senior fellow for U.S foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations; Jakub Grygiel, the George H.W. Bush Associate Professor of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University; and Barry Posen, the Ford International Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Thomas Christensen, a Princeton professor of politics and international affairs and former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, will serve as the panel's respondent. Ikenberry will chair the panel.

At 11:15 a.m., also in 16 Robertson, a panel will examine "The Global Financial Crisis and American National Security." Participants will be: Daniel Drezner, professor of international politics at Tufts University; Jonathan Kirshner, professor of government at Cornell University; and Princeton alumnus James Shinn, former assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs and visiting lecturer at the Wilson School. Harold James, a Princeton professor of history and international affairs, will serve as the panel's respondent. Friedberg will chair the panel.

"This new center will be an excellent resource for students, faculty and researchers on campus and elsewhere to engage with the most serious security challenges of our day," said Mark Watson, interim dean of the Wilson School. "I congratulate Aaron and John in their efforts to make the concept of CISS a reality for the benefit of Princeton and the wider world."

The center aims to support the research and teaching missions of the Wilson School by sponsoring a selective undergraduate course on grand strategy during the 2009-10 academic year, co-taught by Friedberg and Ikenberry. In addition, the center will support research, conferences and special workshops on international security issues, as well as provide logistical and academic support for existing projects at the school. It will host up to two postdoctoral researchers each academic year.

"The Center for International Security Studies will help to provide our students with increased knowledge of and specialization in grand strategy and national security issues, particularly as the U.S. deals with such challenges as the rise of Asia and the ongoing economic crisis," Ikenberry said. "The study of grand strategy -- how states mobilize and pursue policies in the face of international threats and opportunities -- is especially important in today's interconnected and globalizing world."

Friedberg said, "The new center will support the community of scholars at the school and at Princeton who are examining the security challenges we face today, as well as tomorrow. We hope CISS will serve as a vehicle for outreach and cooperation with other institutions studying these issues, from the military service academies in the U.S. to our peer institutions abroad. And we hope to attract the world's leading scholars to the center to increase our collective knowledge for the benefit of our students."