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Wilson Center Programs and Initiatives


    Regional Programs

    • The Africa Program addresses the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, builds stronger, mutually beneficial U.S.–Africa relations, and enhances knowledge and understanding of Africa in the United States, with a focus on good governance and leadership; conflict prevention, security, and peacebuilding; trade, investment, and sustainable development; and Africa’s evolving world in the global arena.

    • Asia Program: The future security and prosperity of the United States are deeply intertwined with the Indo-Pacific. The Asia Program strengthens U.S. understanding of, and engagement with, the region by conducting independent research and hosting dialogues to develop actionable ideas for Congress, the Administration, and the broader policy community. The Asia Program researches a broad set of issues across the region, including focuses on South and Southeast Asia, U.S. alliances and partnerships, regional economic dynamics, the regional implications of US-China competition, military and security issues, and the Korean Peninsula via the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy

    • Brazil Institute: Gripped by economic, public health, and political crises, Brazil faces significant hurdles on the path toward a more sustainable, prosperous, and open future. The Brazil Institute—the only country-specific policy institution focused on Brazil in Washington—serves as a respected and authoritative source of research and debate on these critical policy challenges, concentrating on four thematic areas: science, technology, and innovation; Brazil-U.S. relations; sustainable development and climate change; and the rule of law and democratic governance. The Institute’s work falls under the broader regional framework of the Wilson Center's Latin American Program.

    • Canada Institute: The Canada Institute works to raise the baseline level of knowledge about Canada among Americans generally and the Washington policy community in particular. Ongoing research covers Canada, U.S.-Canadian relations, North American political economy, and Canada's global role as it relates to U.S. interests. As the largest policy research program on Canadian affairs outside Canada, the Canada Institute solicits, publishes, and presents original work on a wide range of topics and from diverse perspectives.

    • The China Environment Forum brings together U.S., Chinese, and other environmental policy experts to explore the most imperative environmental and sustainable development issues in China and to examine opportunities to collaboratively address these issues. Current CEF projects: Cool Agriculture: Cultivating US-China Climate Leadership on Food, Vulnerable Deltas in China and SE Asia, and the Plastic Pipeline Educational Video Game. 

    • Global Europe: The Global Europe Program, unlike most think tank programs on Europe, focuses on the continent’s external relationships—with the United States, Russia, and China, in particular—and illuminates European policy issues in the context of today's geopolitics.

    • The Kennan Institute is the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the region though research and exchange.

    • The Kissinger Institute offers programs for American and Chinese audiences that improve understanding of critical issues in the bilateral relationship to promote mutual security and prosperity.

    • Latin America is struggling to recover from a decade of slow growth and the extreme regional impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, which have contributed to political instability and democratic backsliding. At the same time, global changes have offered Latin America important opportunities, including to attract “friend shoring” investment in regional industries and to export minerals needed for clean energy technologies. The Latin America Program addresses these challenges and opportunities through research and public dialogues on topics including democracy and human rights, economic development, digitalization, and climate and conservation. The Latin America Program, including its prestigious Brazil Institute and Argentina Project, offers a unique forum for non-partisan discussions to generate practical policy ideas to support rapid economic recovery, improved governance, stronger U.S. relations in the hemisphere, and environmental sustainability. 

    • The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United Sates by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. Priority areas for the Mexico Institute include security and the rule of law, economic competitiveness and innovation, energy policy, borders, migration, and health. In addition, the Mexico Institute has special projects on Farm Labor in Mexico and the United States and on Addressing Femicide in Mexico.

    • The Middle East Program focuses on political, social and economic developments in the Middle East and North Arica region. In looks at emerging trends in ever-changing balance of power dynamics in the region, especially in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Uprisings. MEP also looks at democratic and autocratic tendencies in governance, sectarianism and the rise of extremist movements. The program has recently launched two key initiatives: the Workforce Development Initiative that addresses youth, education, employment, economic development and the future of work, and the Middle East Women’s Initiative which, in turn, continues MEP’s foundational work on women’s empowerment, leadership, and economic independence.

    • The Polar Institute The Polar Institute raises awareness about critical issues facing the Arctic and Antarctic by pursuing research, dialogue, and robust programmatic activity. As the Arctic becomes more important in political, economic, environmental, and social terms, the Polar Institute addresses the practical questions and policy challenges facing the United States, Alaska, and citizens of the North, including national security and international relations implications; shipping and infrastructure; environmental protection; maritime capabilities; investment considerations; and more.

    Thematic Programs

    • The Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) explores the connections among environmental, health, and population dynamics and their links to conflict, human insecurity, and foreign policy. ECSP also houses the The Urban Sustainability Laboratory, which advances solutions to challenges facing the world’s cities and brings attention to strategies for leveraging the opportunities found in urban growth and diversity.

    • The Maternal Health Initiative (MHI) explores a wide range of policy-related topics, including maternal and newborn mortality, gender and gender equity, family planning, women’s paid and unpaid work, gender-based violence, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. MHI addresses current global challenges and advances to the health and well-being of all people, with particular focus on women, girls, and all birthing people.

    • History and Public Policy Program: The History and Public Policy Program (HAPP) strives to make public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, to facilitate scholarship based on those records, and to use these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.

      A leader in uncovering and publishing policy-relevant documentation, the Program works with a global network to build next-generation research capacity, foster dialogue and debate on history, and push for greater archival access.

      The History and Public Policy Program currently conducts research and programmatic activities related to the history of the Cold War, nuclear proliferation, the Middle East, Chinese foreign policy, Taiwan, North Korea, and other subjects in contemporary international history.

      The Program manages, an award-winning research tool with over 15,000 primary source documents; publishes the popular international history blog Sources and Methodsand other long-form works; and regularly convenes public events, academic conferences, and graduate student training sessions on historical topics, including the weekly Washington History Seminar series, the Cold War Archives Research (CWAR) Institute, the Nuclear History Boot Camp, and the Woodrow Wilson: Then and Now series.

    • Refugee and Forced Displacement Initiative: In response to the growing number of people forcibly displaced by protracted conflicts and crises around the world and the need for objective facts to inform decisions, the Refugee and Forced Displacement Initiative (RAFDI) provides evidence-based analyses that translate research findings into practice and policy impact. RAFDI aims to expand the space for new perspectives, constructive dialogue and sustainable solutions to inform policies that will improve the future for displaced people.

    • Science and Technology Innovation Program:STIPbrings foresight to the frontier. The Program examines emerging technologies through vital conversations, making science policy accessible to everyone—not just scientists. We equip decision-makers and the public with the tools to help understand advancements in science and technology. The modern era is defined by exponential leaps in scientific understanding and technological breakthroughs. But the potential impacts of these breakthroughs in research, in policy, in society are not always clear. We analyze and translate how emerging technologies will impact international relations. Key topic areas include artificial intelligence, open science, geocompetitiveness in STEM, space, and cybersecurity. We value fellows that can contribute to these conversations, with a capacity to engage multiple audiences in leading-edge research.

    • The Wahba Institute for Strategic Competition works to shape conversations and inspire meaningful action to strengthen technology, trade, infrastructure, and energy as part of American economic and global leadership that benefits the nation and the world.