John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies

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The John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University was founded July 1, 1989. It is an "autonomous entity within the framework of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and is the result of an expansion and institutionalization of the Center's program in national security studies. The director of the Olin Institute is appointed by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in consultation with the director of the Weatherhead Center."[1]

"The central purposes of the Institute are: (1) to conduct basic policy-relevant research on crucial topics of security and strategy, with a view to illuminating the security problems confronting the United States and its allies; and (2) to educate and prepare scholars in strategy and national security for positions in colleges and universities, research institutes, and government. To accomplish these objectives the Institute awards John M. Olin Fellowships in National Security, funds research by individual scholars, supports teaching in national security affairs at Harvard University, undertakes research projects on important topics, and encourages intellectual interaction among scholars and experts through conferences and seminars."[2]

"The Olin Institute organizes conferences and seminars, such as the National Security Studies Group and the Future of War Seminar, to encourage intellectual interaction among scholars and experts. Each year the Olin Institute holds a Conference on Strategy and National Security, which brings together experts on national security from academia, the private sector, and government, many of them former Olin Fellows, to discuss research and critical policy issues concerning strategy and national security."[3]

Fellowship Information

"Each year the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies awards up to ten pre- and postdoctoral fellowships to talented scholars. These John M. Olin Fellowships in National Security are designed to promote basic research in the broad area of security and strategic affairs. Of particular interest is research into the causes and conduct of war, military strategy and history, defense policy and institutions, and the ways in which the United States and other societies can provide for their security in a dangerous world. Outstanding scholars in security affairs from the United States and elsewhere are eligible to apply for John M. Olin Fellowships. In awarding fellowships, preference is given to: (a) graduate students who have made progress on their dissertations and are likely to complete them during their fellowship; and (b) recent Ph.D. recipients."[4]

Conference on the Study of Religion and Terrorism

On November 20-22, 2002, the conference investigated "what now appears to be a new form of political action with international consequences. Prior to September 11, 2001, terrorism was far from unknown, and political conflicts with religious elements were frequently encountered. The attacks of September 11, however, make us question whether we adequately understood the role of religion and its relation to political violence. Among the questions the conference sought to answer are: Does religion add a distinct and different character to political action? What does Islam say about inter-religious conflict? Does terrorism fundamentally alter the political structure of the time and place where it occurs? What are the policy implications of September 11 for the American military and U.S. foreign policy?"[5]

The conference was funded by the former chair of the Weatherhead Center's Visiting Committee, Sidney R. Knafel and was chaired by Jorge I. Domínguez, Director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; Stephen Peter Rosen, Director of the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies; and Monica Duffy Toft, Associate Director of the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies.[6]

The Institute's director is Stephen Peter Rosen, Beton Michael Kaneb Professor of National Security and Military Affairs.

From approximately 1985 through 1999, the John M. Olin Foundation funded sixteen grants totalling $4,719,832 for the Institute. Institute programs and research studies were then under the direction of Samuel P. Huntington.


Monica Duffy Toft
Faculty Associate,
Assistant Director
Tel: 617-495-5154
Fax: 617-495-1384

External links