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The Ax:son Johnson Institute for Statecraft and Diplomacy (AJI)

The Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies is thrilled to announce that it is a founding member of the Ax:son Johnson Institute for Statecraft and Diplomacy (AJI). 

AJI is a four-university, transatlantic consortium, which in collaboration with the Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit, will recruit, train, and mentor the next generation of historically-minded scholars and practitioners in statecraft, diplomacy, and strategy. As a member of this consortium, the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs is pleased to offer up to three PhD and three postdoctoral fellowships to scholars pursuing research in historically-minded statecraft and strategy. 

Generously supported by the Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit, the AJI is a partnership between the Centre for Geopolitics at the University of Cambridge, the Centre for Grand Strategy in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and the Center for Statecraft and Political Communication at the Stockholm School of Economics. The partnership promotes the research and engagement of a cohort of up to twenty-four PhD and postdoctoral fellows across its member universities. 

About the AJI Fellowships at the Kissinger Center

Incoming PhD students and postdoctoral fellows at Johns Hopkins SAIS will work closely with the faculty and affiliates of the Kissinger Center and have opportunities to participate in the Center’s activities and the broader intellectual communities of SAIS and Johns Hopkins University. The new scholars will also collaborate with faculty, affiliates, students, and fellows from the other institutes in the consortium, creating a multi-institutional, multinational intellectual community that spans the Atlantic, as well as have publishing opportunities through Engelsberg Ideas.
The program builds and expands upon the Kissinger Center and SAIS's strengths in diplomatic and military history, strategic studies, security studies, international relations, and economics and international political economy. SAIS is interdisciplinary and policy-engaged, and its location in Washington DC allows scholars easy access to major instruments of government, think tanks, and federally funded research and development centers, as well as important archives. SAIS also has campuses in Bologna (Italy) and Nanjing (China), providing additional opportunities to engage with the scholarly and policy communities in Europe and Asia.
Up to three incoming PhD candidates will be awarded a generous four-year fellowship that includes tuition, health insurance, and a stipend competitive with the top programs in political science, international relations, and history.
Up to three Postdoctoral Fellows will be offered a generous two-year fellowship that includes health insurance, research funding, and a stipend competitive with the leading postdoctoral awards.

Read more about the PhD and Postdoctoral Fellowships here.

How to Apply

PhD Candidates

Applicants interested in becoming AJI predoctoral fellows should apply for admission to the SAIS Ph.D. program using the online application portal. The application closes on December 15th, 2021. It consists of ten parts:
1.     Online application form
2.     Application fee, $85 USD
3.     Resume/CV
4.     Statement of purpose
5.     Dissertation topic
6.     Writing sample
7.     Transcripts for all college-level course work
8.     Two (2) letters of recommendation
9.     GRE or GMAT scores
10.   TOEFL or IELTS scores (non-native English speakers)
In order to be considered for the AJI predoctoral fellowship, you should indicate your interest in conducting historically-minded research on statecraft and strategy in both your statement of purpose (4) and proposed dissertation topic (5). Moreover, your overall application should demonstrate your strong fit for the program, including by indicating the faculty within the Kissinger Center and at SAIS with whom you hope to work. In addition, please inform Alexis Montouris Ciambotti (, the Senior Program Coordinator at the Kissinger Center, about your interest in the AJI program as well as the status of your application.
We are interested in supporting students who seek to pursue historically-informed projects across a wide variety of methodological approaches and research areas related to statecraft and strategy. Applications from women and minority students are especially encouraged.
Acceptance to the SAIS Ph.D. program is a prerequisite for, but does not guarantee, selection as an AJI Predoctoral Fellow. Accepted students will be notified by March 25th, 2022 and will begin their doctoral studies at SAIS in August 2022.
General inquiries regarding the PhD program should be directed to Questions about the AJI PhD fellowship program should be directed to Jeb Benkowski ( and Alexis Montouris Ciambotti (

Postdoctoral Fellows

Applicants interested in becoming AJI Postdoctoral Fellows should follow the steps described below. The application period is now open and will close on February 1st, 2022. Postdoctoral Fellows are expected to start in the summer/fall of 2022 and continue for two calendar years, although a later start date can be negotiated for exceptional applicants. Please state your availability in your application letter. The Postdoctoral Fellow will be expected, in addition to pursuing his or her own research and writing, to contribute to the intellectual life of the Kissinger Center as well as the AJI consortium and to participate in their programming.
Applicants for AJI Post-Doctoral Fellowships must have completed their PhD by the time they take up the fellowship and have a track record of excellent historically-minded research in statecraft, diplomacy, or strategy. Preference will be given to those who are no more than 5 years beyond completing their dissertation, although others are also eligible. Postdoctoral fellows are expected to remain in residence at the Kissinger Center for the duration of their fellowship. We encourage candidates with PhDs in history, political science, and international relations to apply, but other disciplines are also welcome. Applications from women and minority candidates are especially encouraged.
Each applicant should submit the following:
1.     An application letter explaining why you are applying, why and how your research interests align with the objectives of the AJI initiative, and what you hope to accomplish during your time at the Kissinger Center;
2.     A curriculum vitae;
3.     An article or writing sample on statecraft or strategy, broadly defined, which demonstrates a historically-minded approach to research;
4.     Three letters of recommendation.
The applicant is responsible for collecting all materials and submitting them before 23:59 EST on February 1st, 2022.
Please direct any questions to Jeb Benkowski ( and Alexis Montouris Ciambotti (
Application materials should be submitted using the online application portal.