Letter from the Dean

The Letter from the Dean appears in vol. 75, no. 1, "Insecurities: The 75th Anniversary Issue, 1947-2022" (Fall/Winter 2022).

This year’s 75th anniversary edition of the Journal of International Affairs (JIA) is focused on “international affairs and insecure systems.” I can think of no more important topic in this current moment where the world faces historic challenges and transitions. As the Journal’s editors noted, “in recent years, the security and stability associated with international systems has been replaced by dynamism and contradiction.” I am sure that we have all felt this disruption in many facets of our lives, from what we see on the news to the influence of domestic policies on our day-to-day circumstances. But this time of change is also an opening for new ideas to make their way to the forefront, and for new voices to join the conversation. As such, a time of insecurity can also be recast as a time of opportunity.

In my own academic work, I study the ways in which leaders make decisions under uncertainty. One of the key insights in my work, and the work of other notable political psychologists, is that leaders must fight through a lot of “noise” when making consequential, high-pressure decisions – information which they must evaluate as credible or not, and incorporate into their decision calculus. We are fortunate to be able to provide leaders and other decision-makers with robust, peer-reviewed information on critical issues faced by the policy community.

This issue of JIA addresses crucial areas that policymakers grapple with every day, including international governance and multilateralism; food security; climate change; technology; illiberalism and authoritarianism; sovereignty and borders; COVID-19 and global health; and opportunities for innovation and systemic resilience. We are proud that the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) is working to address these and other global policy challenges, and hope that the essays in this volume spark conversations within and beyond SIPA on research and policy suggestions that can alleviate hardships for the world’s citizens and cultivate collective wellbeing.

SIPA is one of the world’s leading public policy schools, with a mission to prepare the next generation of leaders to meet the challenges of an everchanging and interconnected global society. SIPA is the world’s most global public policy school—in a typical year our students and faculty represent at least 90 to 100 countries. Since 1946, we have prepared generations of public policy professionals to serve and lead and have been rated the number-one school for international policy for several years running. It is in this vein that we are reinvigorating SIPA’s connection to the broader world around us and inviting the world to SIPA. This year, we have refocused the school and our intellectual and policy efforts around the five most pressing challenges the world faces today: democratic resilience, inclusive prosperity, geopolitical instability, technology and innovation policy, and climate and energy policy. Our world-class experts and exceptional students are partnering to produce cutting-edge research on these topics and there are many more exciting developments which I am eager to share with you over the course of this year.

Most importantly, I would like to extend our collective gratitude to the editors of JIA for the incredible effort they have put into producing this issue. Over the past several years, they have faced the challenge of producing a print volume while working remotely and produced an extraordinary product despite this hardship. JIA is a longstanding journal of critical importance, cultivating diverse voices from the policy community; as such, it is representative of the best that SIPA has to offer as a global policy school. We are thankful for their efforts in bringing to print this important work.

The essays in this volume speak to some of the most important challenges of our time with deep insight and analytical expertise. I urge readers to carefully consider what the authors have to say, and how these valuable perspectives can influence their own work, in both the policy and academic spheres.

Keren Yarhi-Milo

Dean, School of International and Public Affairs

Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Relations