2021–2022 Welcome Message from Director Melani Cammett

August 16, 2021

Image of Melani CammettWelcome to the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University! Our community of scholars researches complex international, transnational, global, and comparative topics at the frontier of the social sciences. We aim to focus on the most important questions facing societies across the globe. 

This year, we are faced with the enormous challenge of supporting research as we start to emerge from a global pandemic. How do we do this? We are a large Center: our affiliates include more than 230 Harvard Faculty Associates and over 150 graduate and undergraduate students, visiting scholars, fellows, and postdoctoral researchers. On a regular basis, we plan to interact in person, whenever and however possible, and virtually, as needed, to continue to exchange ideas around our research, and to maintain our tradition of theoretical and methodological pluralism. 

Our community spans twelve of Harvard’s fourteen schools, and our five ongoing Weatherhead Research Clusters offer broad areas for shared study. The clusters focus on international security; the reconfiguration of regions in a multipolar world; religion in public life in Africa and the African diaspora; global transformations; and comparative inequality and inclusion. With momentum built prior to COVID-19, we continue to support data collection, sharing, and publication in these areas, and in the diverse areas of inquiry of our affiliates. Research can thrive in a time of social distancing.

This will be the fifth year of the Weatherhead Scholars Program. This program normally offers more than two dozen visiting faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and experienced practitioners the prospect of spending up to one academic year at Harvard. Participating scholars will have the opportunity to get involved in the research clusters and engage with the Center community, both virtually and in person, albeit under conditions adapted to public health guidelines.

Our Weatherhead Forum, which is open to the broader community, will continue to meet—at first virtually, and then in person as soon as possible. This is where the Center comes together on a regular basis, and we would love for you to attend. Talks will concern important events or highlight a different program or research cluster. They feed ongoing substantive exchanges and a robust intellectual community.

Numerous ongoing programs, projects, and conferences complete the range of research activities underway at the Weatherhead Center. Our regular seminars, organized by many intellectual partners on a wide range of topics, will continue. These are the core elements of our research support, and they are critical to our mission. And although events will be more limited than prior to the pandemic, we are gradually starting to re-emerge and hope to scale up over the course of the year. 

I hope you will enjoy the activities of the Weatherhead Center this coming 2021–2022 academic year. I warmly invite you to get involved in our events and activities—both online and, eventually, in person—and to explore our publications, including our research hub, Epicenter, where you will find original blog posts, podcast episodes, and multimedia projects featuring the work of Center affiliates. Stay connected to Center events and news by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

For over sixty years, the Weatherhead Center has shaped the agenda of the social sciences in the United States and the world. The Center will continue to shape the future of scholarship, just as it has in the past, even in this new normal. We are thrilled to have you along for the journey. 


Melani Cammett
Director, Weatherhead Center
Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs
Professor of Global Health and Population