Kissinger discusses U.S.-China relations and American diplomacy with Yale students

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Paul Gewirtz, Henry A. Kissinger, and Jonathan Spence at the Johnson Center event. (Photo by Michael Marsland)

Former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger took part in a “Special Conversation on Sino-America Relations” on Dec. 9 with a group of students from the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and the Yale Law School.

The event was moderated by Professors Paul Gewirtz, director of the China Law Center; James Levinsohn, director of the Jackson Institute; and Jonathan Spence, Sterling Professor Emeritus of History. Discussion focused on the future of U.S.-China relations and the significance of Kissinger’s latest book, “On China.”

According to the event organizers, Kissinger’s visit highlighted the potential of the newly established Johnson Center for the Study of American Diplomacy, made possible by the diplomat’s recent donation of his papers to Yale and a gift from Charles B. Johnson ‘54. The foundation of the Johnson Center will be the Kissinger Archives at Yale University, a collection of approximately one million documents and objects covering Kissinger’s life as a diplomat, scholar, teacher, and private citizen. The Johnson Center is a program of the Jackson Institute, and, in collaboration with International Security Studies and the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, will bring prominent statesmen and academics to campus as Kissinger Senior Fellows and Kissinger Visiting Scholars, as well as host an annual conference on contemporary issues in international affairs.  

While on campus, Kissinger also received an update on the Johnson Center’s progress and met with the Yale Law Foreign Policy Workshop. Initiated by a select group of Yale Law students with backgrounds in international affairs and overseen by Gewirtz, the workshop seeks to connect today’s leaders with talented students through substantive work on current issues in American national security and foreign policy.

The Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, which houses the Johnson Center for the Study of American Diplomacy, is a centerpiece of Yale’s efforts to internationalize its teaching curriculum, to attract the most talented students and scholars to Yale from around the world, and to deepen the University’s engagement abroad. Established in April 2009 with a gift from John W. and Susan G. Jackson, the Institute administers Yale’s International Relations Master’s program as well as the Global Affairs undergraduate major. The Jackson Institute also provides career counseling and placement assistance to students wishing to pursue a career in public service.

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