October 6, 2016
Michael R. Bloomberg ‘64, 108th New York City Mayor, Founder, Bloomberg LP & Bloomberg Philanthropies
Hal Brands, Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor, Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs
Ronald J. Daniels, President of Johns Hopkins University
Francis J. Gavin, Frank Stanton Chair in Nuclear Security Policy studies and Professor of Political Science at MIT
Stephen Hadley, Principal, RiceHadleyGates LLC
Carla Hills, Chair and CEO, Hills & Co. International Consultants
Henry A. Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor; Founder and Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.
Vali R. Nasr, Dean of Johns Hopkins SAIS
Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal columnist
With combined support of $50 million representing the largest gift in the history of the school, Johns Hopkins SAIS has launched the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs. The new center was celebrated with a presentation and panel discussion October 6 at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, DC.
Johns Hopkins SAIS Dean Vali Nasr said that by drawing on the lessons of history, the center “will promote the understanding and application of geostrategy in statecraft." He thanked donors for making the center possible and acknowledged former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for contributing to and driving the fundraising effort.
Nasr announced that the new center will house up to 10 distinguished scholars and introduced the first to be named: Hal Brands, Niall Ferguson, Christopher Hill, John Lipsky, and Margaret MacMillan.
Bloomberg said "Henry has helped shape our history not only as a statesman but as a teacher. After all, he was a renowned scholar before he became a public official, and throughout his career he has never stopped learning or teaching. I’ve been lucky enough to know Henry and to learn from him, and now many more people will have a chance to do exactly as I did. It really is an honor to recognize Henry for all he has done to build a stronger, safer, more stable world and to help future generations build on his work and extend his legacy."
Henry Kissinger took the stage to share remarks on the center’s vision and its role in developing future leaders in international relations. “It is the first time in history that upheavals occur in every part of the world simultaneously and are connected with each other by rapid communication and by global economics," Kissinger said. He added, "I am excited at the prospect of this center located in Washington, D.C. and drawing people from around the world to synthesize thought and political theories in developing leaders and strategies capable of dealing with contemporary global challenges."
Moderator Peggy Noonan led a panel discussion on "Geostrategy and Challenges Facing US Foreign Policy," asking panelists Hal Brands, Francis Gavin, Stephen Hadley, and Carla Hills to describe their most significant and most pressing global challenges. Hills pointed to the US government’s environment of gridlock and paralysis as the most significant global challenge, because it is eroding trust in public institutions at a time when the world needs US leadership. Gavin said the United States’ wavering commitment to international order was a threat to global stability. Hadley commented that the US government’s tendency to be consumed by the crises of the moment leads to a lack of strategic action, and suggested the Kissinger Center’s students and scholars would be “the leavening of the bread in the think tank world.”