Message from the Dean

photo: Michael E. Brown
June 17, 2015

At the end of June 2015, I will be completing my 10th year as dean of the Elliott School, and I will be stepping down from this leadership position. It has been a great decade for me and, I believe, a very good decade for the Elliott School. 

Over the past ten years, the Elliott School has continued to strengthen its position as one of the best schools of international affairs in the world. We have created 23 new faculty positions, and we have recruited top scholars in key fields to join our faculty. We have added more than a dozen new academic concentrations and dozens of new courses, along with new M.A. programs in Global Communication and Middle East Studies. We have launched new research institutes: the Institute for International Economic Policy, the Institute for Middle East Studies, the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication, and the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies. Our faculty members are conducting research on the world’s most pressing problems. The Elliott School’s top ten list of new research projects has more than 25 entries. 

The Elliott School’s policy engagement and external outreach efforts have expanded as well. The number of special events has increased from 100 to more than 300 per year. Our new event series  include the Distinguished Women in International Affairs series, the Global Gender Forum, the International Finance Forum, the Leadership in International Affairs series, the Middle East Policy Forum, and the Nuclear Policy Talks. Through the Web Video Initiative, launched in 2009, we have posted 480 videos from Elliott School events along with faculty interviews. We are sharing these intellectual resources openly with students, scholars, and people around the world. Our videos have now been watched in 164 countries — 85 percent of the UN’s member-states. 

One result is that the Elliott School’s academic standing is higher than ever. In the latest survey of international affairs scholars, our undergraduate programs were ranked #8 and our master’s programs were ranked #7 — the Elliott School’s highest rankings to date. Only seven schools were ranked in the top ten in both categories. It’s an elite club. 

Every member of the Elliott School community — faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, advisory board members, donors, and friends of the school — should be deeply proud of the Elliott School’s accomplishments. Together, we are building and running a truly superb school. We are enhancing the lives of our extraordinary students, and we are advancing understanding of the extraordinary challenges facing humanity. The Elliott School is in a unique and powerful position to make a difference in the 21st century, and we are making the most of it. 

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks, appreciation, and admiration to the Elliott school’s faculty, staff, advisory board members, and supporters – the inner circle of people who have propelled the Elliott School to ever-greater heights. You are exceptional in your commitment to academic excellence and your dedication to the common good. You are making a great school even greater. 

I would also like to convey my admiration and awe of the Elliott School’s students and alumni. I have had the honor of congratulating more than 7,000 Elliott School students at our graduation ceremonies, and I have met thousands of the Elliott School’s 21,000 alumni over the past decade. You are inspirational in your concern for others and your passion for progress. You are making a difference in our world. 

It is a privilege to have such outstanding colleagues. 

For 10 years, I have been recruiting faculty, students, and staff to come to the Elliott School, and I have been telling people that this is the best place in the world to study international issues. Looking back, I have to admit — in all honesty — that I was right. I am consequently delighted to be staying on at the Elliott School in my capacity as a tenured member of the faculty. I will be on research leave in 2015–16, tackling international security and conflict problems — which are all too plentiful — and I will return to the classroom later on. 

Having the opportunity to contribute to the Elliott School as dean of the school has been the greatest privilege of my career. I will look forward to seeing many of you in the years ahead — on E Street or somewhere around the world. Step well. 

/s/ Michael Brown
Michael E. Brown
Elliott School of International Affairs
The George Washington University