News Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sharon A. McCarter
Phone: (202) 691-4016
Release No. 222-04
December 13, 2004

Western Policy Center to Merge with the Woodrow Wilson Center
with Establishment of a New Southeast Europe Project

Washington, D.C. - Lee H. Hamilton, President and Director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, today announced that the Western Policy Center, a foreign policy institute researching and analyzing U.S. political, economic, and security issues in the eastern Mediterranean and southern Balkan regions since 1998, will be merged into the Wilson Center and be part of the Center's European programs, which include the West European and East European studies programs, as the multi-year Southeast Europe Project. The merger plan also provides for the eventual endowment of a permanent entity for Southeast Europe, expected to be fully operational by 2008.

"This important new initiative gives the Wilson Center an extraordinary opportunity to play a leadership role in key foreign policy issues in Europe that affect the U.S. national interest," said Hamilton. "The expertise and focus of the Western Policy Center will enhance the Wilson Center's work on Europe and the Center's scholarship on a key region of the world. I am confident a Southeast Europe Project can make significant contributions to our work and the quality of the dialogue at the Woodrow Wilson Center."

"This unique partnership will secure the furtherance of the Western Policy Center's mission at the global level, and benefit from the Wilson Center's reputation of excellence among scholars and policy planners in Washington, D.C. and throughout the world, strengthened by the superb leadership of Lee Hamilton," said Angelo Tsakopoulos, founding board member and leading patron of the Western Policy Center. "We would not be here today if not for the hard work of Western Policy Center director John Sitilides, who will be staying on, Chairman James Regas, and all the distinguished members of the Center's Board of Directors through the years. Markos Kounalakis was central to this development and will continue to monitor its progress for me as we move forward."

Sitilides, executive director of the Western Policy Center since he established the Washington, D.C. office in 1998, will serve as chairman of the Board of Advisors of the Southeast Europe Project.

Kounalakis, Western Policy Center board member and President and Publisher of Washington Monthly magazine, said, "Successful international scholarship can play a key role in helping to shape our foreign policy debates here in Washington, D.C. The Wilson Center is home to passionate scholars with dispassionate research skills who will now further focus on southeast Europe. My family is actively supportive and proud of the role it played in the evolution and merger of the Western Policy Center into the Woodrow Wilson Center."

The Western Policy Center was incorporated in California in 1994, and commenced full operations in Washington, D.C. in March 1998. Since that time, the Center has initiated and sponsored an extensive program of innovative conferences, lectures, speaker's series, and scholarly articles on southeastern Europe. Given the momentous changes in the international political, economic, and security environments of recent years, the Center's board of directors determined that its goals and purposes would be more effectively served by being sponsored under the aegis of a scholarly regional program with a superior institutional platform and broader national and global reach, and concluded that the Wilson Center would be the proper entity through which to conduct these activities.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is the living, national memorial to President Wilson established by Congress in 1968 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Center establishes and maintains a neutral forum for free, open, and informed dialogue. It is a nonpartisan institution, supported by public and private funds and engaged in the study of national and world affairs.

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