The Catholic University of America announced today the establishment of the Center for the Study of Statesmanship to promote research, teaching, and public discussion about how statesmanship can defuse conflict and foster respectful foreign and domestic relations.
It will explore sources of moderation, humility, compromise, and circumspection, placing special emphasis on the moral and cultural dimensions of restraint and broad views. The center will consider how American constitutionalism — with its emphasis on limited and decentralized power, virtue, and deliberation — applies to foreign affairs. Attention will be given to the moral, political, social, and financial costs of military interventions and nation-building.
Claes G. Ryn, professor of politics, will serve as the director of the center. Ryn has written extensively on the dangers of abstract ideology in foreign and domestic affairs and about the moral and cultural preconditions of good relations among persons, peoples, and civilizations.
“In American foreign policy thinking, the pendulum has swung between unrealistic idealism and amoral realism,” Ryn said. “Scholarship at the new center will address an unmet intellectual need by exploring the sources and prospects for statesmanship that combines morality and realism.”
The Center for the Study of Statesmanship will come under the umbrella of Catholic University’s Institute for Human Ecology, which was formed to take up Pope Francis's call in Laudato Si' to study the relationships of human beings to one another and the world around them.
“I am confident that under Professor Ryn’s direction, this center will help to shape the way in which American diplomacy is conceived and conducted,” said University Provost Andrew V. Abela. “This center is poised to strengthen the existing influence of Catholic University’s Politics department on public questions of the moment.”
The launch of the center was made possible by a foundational five-year commitment of $2.65 million from the Charles Koch Foundation, which supports hundreds of colleges and universities across the country, helping students and faculty members pursue scholarship related to societal well-being and free societies.
The new center will advance its mission through new professorships and visiting fellows, bringing its research to bear on fields like diplomacy, military studies, and intelligence studies, as well as various academic disciplines. It will offer faculty research grants and support graduate study. Rooted in scholarly research, the center will sponsor meetings, conferences, and public speeches while working with other organizations in the nation’s capital to inform and influence public debate.
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