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Johns Hopkins SAIS and Kissinger Center for Global Affairs Honor Dr. Henry Kissinger’s Legacy

The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs mourn the passing of Dr. Henry Kissinger.

Born in Fürth, Germany in 1923, Henry Kissinger fled Nazi Germany with his family in 1938 and moved to New York City. He served in the U.S. Army in Europe during the Second World War and was awarded a Bronze Star. After completing his undergraduate degree and PhD at Harvard University, Kissinger embarked on an extraordinary scholarly career, writing on subjects ranging from the Congress of Vienna to the revolutionary role of thermonuclear weapons on world politics. He consulted for both the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson administrations before being named National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State for President Richard M. Nixon, a role he continued for President Gerald Ford. After his time in office, he started Kissinger Associates while publishing many important books, including White House Years, Diplomacy, On China, World Order and Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy. He was widely sought after by global leaders and American presidents for his advice and counsel, and actively shaped debates on world affairs into his 100th year.  For his many contributions to public service and scholarship, Kissinger is widely considered one of the most consequential statesmen in American history.

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) created The Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at SAIS in 2016 to promote the serious study and practice of historically informed statecraft and strategy, which characterized Kissinger’s remarkable career as a policymaker and scholar. Dr. Kissinger avidly supported both the Kissinger Center and SAIS’ mission of generating innovative research that spoke to the world’s most pressing problems while training the next generation of national and global leaders.  At the launch of the Kissinger Center, JHU President Ronald Daniels captured Dr. Kissinger's legacy and the ambitious aims of the center named in his honor, saying: “This center is named for a scholar-practitioner known for his strategic acumen, his preternatural ability to think fifteen moves ahead in any international negotiation, and his deftness in mining history for insights that foretell future action on the world stage. So many were drawn not only to honoring his legacy, but also, in doing so, to building the scaffolding to reset the way we understand geostrategy and teach the practice of statecraft for the 21st Century and beyond.”

 “I am deeply saddened at Dr. Kissinger’s passing. I remain forever grateful for the remarkable and unqualified support, wisdom, and friendship he provided from the moment I came to the Center,” said Francis Gavin, director of the Kissinger Center. “We will continue to pursue his vision for a deep engagement with history to meet the challenges of the future.”

Dr. Kissinger pioneered the application of historical lessons to current and future policy. This legacy is reflected in the Center’s flagship course, the Kissinger Seminar in Statecraft and Strategy, taught by SAIS Dean James Steinberg, Gavin, and Kissinger Distinguished Professor Hal Brands. Dr. Kissinger “virtually” met with the students each year, a highlight of the course, to share his vision of America’s vital role in a changing world while answering questions about his life and career.

“Henry Kissinger was the epitome of the scholar-statesman, marrying rigor and intellectual depth with a keen appreciation of the opportunities and constraints of international politics – the very ideals we seek to nurture at SAIS,” Dean James Steinberg observed.  “Both as a policymaker and teacher I was privileged to benefit from his advice and counsel over many years. I am especially grateful for the warm support and guidance he provided when I became Dean. We will miss his invaluable presence but will honor his legacy the best way we know how – by educating future national and global leaders to follow in his footsteps.”

With Dr. Kissinger’s enthusiastic encouragement and the support of the Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit, the Kissinger Center published a revised edition of his celebrated undergraduate thesis, The Meaning of History: Reflections on Spengler, Toynbee, and Kant, including a new preface written by Dr. Kissinger and circulated to the world’s leading universities and libraries.

Dr. Kissinger also chaired the Center’s America and the Future of World Order Program, an effort to craft innovative and effective grand strategies for the United States in the face of a complex and rapidly changing world order.  As part of this program, Dr. Kissinger presided over a small working group that included Michael Bloomberg, Eric Schmidt, current National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and current director of the Central Intelligence Agency, William Burns, amongst other distinguished scholars and practitioners. These meetings emulated the famed gathering on world order held at Bellagio, Italy, in 1965, which Dr. Kissinger believed was formative to his thinking on foreign policy and international politics.

Media Contact

Asma Yousef
(771) 200-6659
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Johns Hopkins SAIS

For eight decades, students have come to the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) to learn from renowned faculty and distinguished policy practitioners, build their professional networks, and gain hands-on work experience.

The school was founded in 1943 by Paul H. Nitze and Christian A. Herter, statesmen who sought to prepare the next generation of leaders to meet the complex challenges the U.S and the world would face following World War II. A distinguished faculty of scholars and policy experts developed an innovative curriculum that emphasized international politics, economics, and foreign languages. That program, combined with skills training and experiential learning, helped prepare students to make a difference in government, civil society, and the private sector. In 1955, SAIS established a campus in Bologna, Italy, and in 1986 the school initiated one of the first Western university programs in the People’s Republic of China in Nanjing.

Today, SAIS carries on this tradition, preparing students for the emerging challenges of the 21st century. Johns Hopkins SAIS alumni number more than 20,000 graduates, a network of professionals working across the globe. From private-sector executives to entrepreneurs, leaders of nongovernmental organizations to ambassadors, and international media correspondents to energy consultants, SAIS alumni are defined by their innovative thinking, analytical approach, and policy expertise. They are leaders in their fields, lifelong students committed to the betterment of the world.
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Thursday, November 30, 2023