The Elliott School of International Affairs received nearly $2 million in grants this week, funds which will make the school a leader in helping to influence and craft policy regarding the Middle East and Asia, a professor said Tuesday.
Marc Lynch, a professor in the Elliott School and director of GW’s Institute for Middle East Studies, received nearly a quarter of the grant money – which was awarded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Lynch said he will use his portion of the grant – which amounts to $475,000 – to bring the leading experts on the Middle East to the Elliott School to exchange and expand on research projects in the field.
“What this means for the Elliott School is that the Institute for Middle East Studies will become the center for a national network of political scientists who study the Middle East,” Lynch said of the grant. “Political scientists specializing in the region will come together and exchange ideas and review each other’s work and strengthen the field.”
Lynch said he believes the Elliott School was awarded the grant partly due to the school’s location.
“We will take advantage of D.C. and take the ideas of these political scientists and better reach out to policymakers and the media and set up small meetings and small seminars with politicians and journalists based in D.C. to get [these political scientists’] knowledge and ideas out there,” Lynch said.
Lynch added that the grant will benefit students as well, allowing them to attend lectures and events with the Middle East experts who travel to GW.
“Students at all levels – undergraduate and graduate – will be able to come to public events and hear from them,” Lynch said, referring to the scholars. “There will also be smaller events for graduate and undergraduate students.”
The largest portion of the grant – more than $750,000 – will go toward establishing the Program on New Approaches to Regional Security Eurasia at GW. PONARS works to ensure that scholars in the U.S. and Eurasia are working toward common goals regarding nuclear proliferation, ethnic conflict, terrorism, energy security, economic reform, climate change, and state-building, and was most recently housed at Georgetown.
Approximately $650,000 of the grant money will go toward examining foreign policy issues in China, India, Russia, Iran, Japan, South Korea, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, according to a University news release. Spearheaded by Elliott School professors Deepa Ollapally, Henry R. Nau and Mike Mochizuki, the money will be used to organize roundtables, Washington briefings, a Web site, and ultimately a published book about the issues plaguing these nations, the release said. Michael Brown, dean of the Elliott School, said the grants will help increase “international understanding of some of the most important regions and some of the most dynamic challenges in the world today.”
“These programs are superb examples of how GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs is bridging the academic and policy communities, bringing scholars and policy experts together, and making our world a better place,” Brown said in a news release.