Past Directors

Robert Richardson Bowie

Director, CFIA, 1957–1972

Image of Robert BowieIn 1957, as the newly appointed founding director of the Center for International Affairs, Robert Bowie made the political, strategic, and economic aspects of US relations with Europe a central focus of Harvard’s new research center. Bowie, a highly respected diplomat and scholar, founded the Center with the intention to address, “…the pressing need for widened knowledge and understanding: for more awareness of the nature and complexity of foreign affairs; for more informed and imaginative thinking.” 

After graduating from Princeton University in 1931, Bowie received his law degree from Harvard in 1934. He served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1946 as a commissioned officer with the Pentagon and in occupied Germany from 1945 until 1946, after which he returned to Harvard to teach.

As the legal advisor to John J. McCloy, US high commissioner to Germany, Bowie authored some of the most crucial clauses of the agreement between the Allies and West Germany. From 1953 to 1957, he continued to support European reconciliation as head of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, during the Eisenhower administration. Along with these accomplishments, Bowie was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; the Trilateral Commission; the American Law Institute; the American Academy of Diplomacy; and served as CIA chief national intelligence officer from 1977 to 1979.

In 2009, Bowie received the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. At the award ceremony, Ambassador Scharioth stressed the importance of Robert Bowie’s work toward a united Europe based on Franco-German reconciliation. Photo credit: Harvard University Archives, call # UAV 605, Professor in Action Series, F2440 frame 8

Raymond Vernon

Director, CFIA, 1973–1978

Image of Raymond VernonAn economist and scholar of US, foreign, and multinational business, Raymond Vernon became a faculty member at Harvard Business School in 1959. He moved to the Harvard Kennedy School in 1981, where he served as the Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs until his retirement. His formulation of the product life-cycle theory of US exports, first published in 1966, was influential in the field of international trade and business, and foreshadowed the phenomenon of globalization.

In addition to working on the Marshall Plan, he also played a role in the development of the International Monetary Fund and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. 
From 1935 to 1946, Vernon worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission and then at the US Department of State, where he also helped facilitate Japan’s recovery after the war. In the early 1950s he served as acting director of the Office of Economic Defense and Trade Policy, overseeing US trade with the Soviet bloc and encouraging trade between communist and noncommunist countries.

His work in political science focused on the relationship between states and business. He predicted that companies’ relationships with customers would become increasingly more important as business became more international. Some believe his work served as a basis for the movement toward privatization in the 1980s. 

Vernon graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1933 and earned a PhD in economics from Columbia University in 1941. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. His books include Sovereignty at Bay in 1973, Storm Over the Multinationals in 1977, and Beyond Globalism in 1989.

Samuel P. Huntington

Director, CFIA, 1978–1989

Image of Sam HuntingtonSamuel P. Huntington, Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor at Harvard University, was a prominent thought leader in political science worldwide during the past half century. Mentor to generations of scholars in divergent fields, he was the author or co-author of a total of seventeen books on American government, democratization, national security and strategic issues, political and economic development, cultural factors in world politics, and American national identity. Some of his writing evoked controversy; the Guardian newspaper called him ”a cold-war liberal with a conservative cast of mind.”

The book that brought him into the public eye, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996), pointed to the significance of religious and other cultural values as ways of understanding cohesion and division in the world. It became a bestseller after 9/11. Political Order in Changing Societies (1968) challenged the orthodoxies of the 1960s in the field of development and remained the most frequently assigned text in research university seminars to introduce graduate students to comparative politics. The Third Wave (1991) studied the cascade of dictator-toppling, democracy-creating episodes around the world from the mid 1970s to the early 1990s, giving persuasive reasons for this trend in democratization well before the fall of the Berlin wall.

Huntington graduated from Yale College in 1946 and earned a PhD in political science from Harvard in 1951. He was foreign policy advisor to Vice President Hubert Humphrey in his 1968 presidential campaign and served in the Carter administration on the National Security Council staff as coordinator of security planning (1977–1978). He also co-founded and edited Foreign Policy magazine. He served as president of the American Political Science Association (1986–1987) and received the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas for Improving World Order. Photo credit: Harvard University Archives, call # UAV 605, Professor in Action Series, Huntington, frame 11a

Joseph S. Nye, Jr.

Director, CFIA, 1989–1992

Image of Joe NyeJoseph Nye is University Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus and former dean of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He received his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1958. He did postgraduate work at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship and earned a PhD in political science from Harvard. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1964, and taught one of the largest core curriculum courses in the college. 

He has also worked in three government agencies. From 1977 to 1979, Nye served as deputy to the under secretary of state for security assistance, science, and technology and chaired the National Security Council Group on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In recognition of his service, he received the highest Department of State commendation, the Distinguished Honor Award. In 1993 and 1994, he was chair of the National Intelligence Council, which coordinates intelligence estimates for the president. He was awarded the intelligence community’s Distinguished Service Medal. In 1994 and 1995, he served as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, where he also won the Distinguished Service Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster.

Nye is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of the Academy of Diplomacy, and of the British Academy. He serves on several nonprofit boards: as co-chair (with Brent Scowcroft) of the Aspen Strategy Group, chair of the North American Group of the Trilateral Commission, director of the Council on Foreign Relations, chair of the Pacific Forum, and trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is also on advisory boards for TOTAL, Mitsubishi, and the Defense Department. He has served as a director of the Institute for East-West Security Studies, a director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a member of the advisory committee of the Institute of International Economics, and the American representative on the United Nations Advisory Committee on Disarmament Affairs. He has been a trustee of Wells College and of Radcliffe College. He is the recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Award from Princeton University, the Charles Merriam Award from the American Political Science Association, and the Palmes Academiques from the French government. In 2008, a poll of 2,700 international relations scholars listed him as the most influential scholar on American foreign policy, and a 2011 poll rated him the fourth most influential scholar in international relations over the past twenty years.

He is the author of thirteen books and more than a 150 articles in professional and policy journals. His most recent publications are The Powers to Lead (2008), Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (2004), Power in the Global Information Age (2004), Understanding International Conflict, The Power Game: A Washington Novel (2004), The Future of Power (2011) which the Economist called “rigorous and convincing,” and his latest book, Presidential Leadership and the Creation of the American Era (2013). In addition, he has published policy articles in various newspapers and magazines, and his internationally syndicated column appears in papers in more than seventy countries. In addition to teaching at Harvard, Nye has also taught for brief periods in Geneva, Ottawa, and Oxford where he is a visiting professor and an honorary fellow. He has lived and done research in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Central America, Britain, France, Canada, and traveled to more than 100 countries. For more information, visit his personal website or Harvard Kennedy School profile.

Robert D. Putnam

Director, CFIA, 1993–1996

Image of Robert PutnamRobert D. Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard. Putnam is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a corresponding fellow of the British Academy, and past president of the American Political Science Association. In 2006, Putnam received the Skytte Prize, the world's highest accolade for a political scientist, and in 2012, he received from President Obama the National Humanities Medal, the nation’s highest honor for contributions to the humanities. Raised in a small town in the Midwest and educated at Swarthmore, Oxford, and Yale, he has served as dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. The London Sunday Times has called him “the most influential academic in the world today.”

He has written fifteen books, translated into twenty languages, including the best-selling Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, and more recently, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, a groundbreaking examination of the growing opportunity gap. Putnam's 2010 book, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites us, co-authored with David Campbell of Notre Dame, won the American Political Science Association's 2011 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award for the best book on government, politics, or international affairs. His earlier book, Making Democracy Work, was praised by the Economist as "a great work of social science, worthy to rank alongside de Tocqueville, Pareto and Weber." Both Making Democracy Work and Bowling Alone are among the most cited publications in the social sciences worldwide in the last half century.

Putnam consults widely with national leaders, including the last three American presidents and the last three British prime ministers. He co-founded the Saguaro Seminar, bringing together leading thinkers and practitioners to develop actionable ideas for civic renewal. His earlier work included research on comparative political elites, Italian politics, and globalization. Before coming to Harvard in 1979, he taught at the University of Michigan and served on the staff of the National Security Council. 

His 2015 book, Our Kids, examines the growing class gap among American young people and the implications for social mobility. A New York Times best seller, Our Kids is a rare combination of individual testimony and rigorous evidence that should initiate a deep examination of the future of our country. 

Putnam is now working on a major empirical project about twentieth-century economic, social, and political trends and the implications for American culture. For more information, visit his website.

Jorge I. Domínguez

Acting Director, WCFIA, 1995
Director, WCFIA, 1996–2006

Image of Jorge I. DomínguezJorge I. Domínguez is the Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico and chair of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. From 2006 to 2015, he served as Harvard University vice provost for international affairs. A past president of the Latin American Studies Association and a past board chair of the Latin American Scholarship Program of American Universities, he currently serves on the editorial boards of Political Science Quarterly, Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica, Cuban Studies, Foro internacional, and Journal of Cold War Studies. He was series editor for the Peabody Award-winning Public Broadcasting System television series Crisis in Central America. He is a founding member of the Inter-American Dialogue and adviser to the Club de Madrid.

He is the author or editor of various books, among them Challenges of Party-Building in Latin America; Debating U.S.-Cuban Relations: How Should We Now Play Ball?, 2nd ed.; Contemporary U.S.-Latin American Relations: Cooperation or Conflict in the 21st Century?, 2nd ed.; Mexico’s Evolving Democracy: A Comparative Study of the 2012 Elections; Routledge Handbook of Latin America in the World; Constructing Democratic Governance in Latin America, 4th ed.; Cuban Economic and Social Development: Policy Reforms and Challenges in the 21st Century; The United States and Mexico: Between Partnership and Conflict, 2nd ed.; Technopols: Freeing Politics and Markets in Latin America in the 1990s, and many other books and articles on domestic and international politics in Latin America and the Caribbean. His current research focuses on the international relations and domestic politics of Latin American countries. For more information, visit his website.

Beth A. Simmons

Director, WCFIA, 2006–2013

Image of Beth SimmonsBeth A. Simmons is the Andrea Mitchell University Professor of Law, Political Science and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. She researches and teaches international relations, international law, and international political economy. She is best known for her research on international political economy during the interwar years, policy diffusion globally, and her work demonstrating the influence that international law has on human rights outcomes around the world. Two of her books, Who Adjusts? Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policy During the Interwar Years (2004) and Mobilizing for Human Rights: International Law in Domestic Politics (2009) won the American Political Science Association's Woodrow Wilson Award for the best book published in the United States on government, politics, or international affairs. The latter was also recognized by the American Society for International Law, the International Social Science Council, and the International Studies Association as the best book of the year in 2010. 

She is currently conducting research in three areas: global performance assessments as informal governance mechanisms in international affairs; international border crossings, and especially evidence of their “thickening” in recent decades in many parts of the world; and international and transnational crime. Simmons has spent a year working at the International Monetary Fund; is a past president of the International Studies Association; and has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. For more information, visit her website. Photo credit: Mark Ostow

Jeffry Frieden

Interim Director, WCFIA, 2000–2001, fall 2009, fall 2013, and 2014–2015

Image of Jeffry FriedenJeffry Frieden is Professor of Government at Harvard University. He specializes in the politics of international monetary and financial relations. Frieden is the author of Currency Politics: The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Policy (2015) and the co-author (with Menzie Chinn) of Lost Decades: The Making of America's Debt Crisis and the Long Recovery (2012). Frieden is also the author of Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century (2007), of Debt, Development, and Democracy: Modern Political Economy and Latin America, 1965–1985 (1992), of Banking on the World: The Politics of American International Finance (1987), and the co-author or co-editor of over a dozen other books on related topics. His articles on the politics of international economic issues have appeared in a wide variety of scholarly and general-interest publications. For more information, visit his website.