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A message to Foreign Honorary Members

June 2016

Dear Member,

One of my priorities as President of the American Academy has been to engage the Academy’s Foreign Honorary Members and Fellows living abroad. I am pleased to report that this has been a good year for the Academy’s increased involvement with members and initiatives outside the United States.

The Academy Board has created an International Committee, chaired by our first International Secretary James Cuno, President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. In January, the International Committee met for the first time. The group discussed ideas and plans to build relationships with scholarly academies in other countries and to include a more global perspective in Academy studies and publications. In addition, the Committee will assist in identifying underrepresented regions, countries, and disciplines in the Academy’s membership and help generate a list of candidates deserving of nomination. The Committee will encourage members outside the United States to participate in studies and review the Academy’s work.

I wanted to let you and all of our Foreign Honorary Members know that the work of the International Committee is only the most recent of the Academy’s relevant activities during the past year. Some examples of the Academy’s having increased its work and its level of engagement with members around the world include:

  • In July, in partnership with the Nuclear Law Association of India and TERI University, the Academy convened a conference in New Delhi to review communication frameworks utilized in the nuclear energy context, and to discuss how to communicate the risks and benefits of nuclear energy to the public. Participants included government officials, scholars, industry representatives, policymakers, journalists, and civil society organizations of India, as well as nuclear experts from the United States, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Taiwan.
  • In September, the Academy hosted a conference in Oxford, United Kingdom, with the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. During this conference on Reimagining the Global Nuclear Order: International Approaches in Historical Perspective, political scientists, historians, and regional experts examined the ever-changing interaction between the international system and the global nuclear order, and discussed the roles of recently emerging nuclear powers, including China and India.
  • Also in September, I traveled to Moscow to meet with several educational leaders as well as the heads of nongovernmental organizations, including Vladimir Fortov, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences; and Mikhail Strikhanov, Rector of the National Research Nuclear University. I also met with Foreign Honorary Members and participated in a meeting of Russian international security experts, convened by Academy Member Robert Legvold, about the Academy study on the New Nuclear Age.
  • In November, I visited London and Paris with International Secretary James Cuno. We met with the leadership of the Institut de France, the Academie des Sciences, the British Museum, the British Academy, and the Royal Society, as well as with Academy members in both cities.
  • In February, the Academy convened a conference on The Role of Ethics in International Affairs at the Bellagio Center of the Rockefeller Foundation in Italy. The conference was an opportunity to gather international scholars with Academy members with expertise on specific dimensions of the global order. Together, their dialogue constituted a broad exploration of ethics, international affairs, and global peace and stability. (As part of this trip, we were pleased to include a gathering with Academy members in Milan.)

In our travels and our conversations with colleagues from around the world, we continue to discover areas of mutual interest: the humanities, nuclear energy, the tension between academic freedom and security, the protection of cultural heritage in areas of conflict, the public understanding of science. We learn of interesting projects we may be able to pursue jointly with organizations in other countries, which would expand the reach of, and bring valuable perspective to, our work. Some members have expressed an interest in representing the Academy around the world, including making introductions on our behalf to other academies worldwide, for which we are grateful.

We welcome your suggestions of organizations and individuals we should contact as part of our international outreach. And though the new International Committee will work to identify potential Foreign Honorary Members, we strongly encourage you to consider candidates for election as Foreign Honorary Members. Please email us at for more information on how to nominate a Foreign Honorary Member.

We look forward to developing our international presence even further in the future. I welcome your participation in the Academy’s work and your help in expanding our reach internationally. Please share any questions or suggestions you may have about our plans. I look forward to hearing from you.

All best,

Jonathan F. Fanton


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