The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University seeks to promote a just and peaceful world through research, teaching and public engagement.

Complex problems require informed solutions.

Poverty and inequality. Natural disasters and ethnic conflict. Rapid urbanization and climate change. Globalized labor standards and cyber threats. Our increasingly interconnected 21st-century world is rife with challenges that affect us all. Crafting solutions to those problems requires rigorous research, real-world experience and creative thinking.

The Watson Institute is a community of scholars, practitioners, and students whose work aims to help us understand and address these critical challenges. It is dedicated to meaningful social science research and teaching and animated by the conviction that informed policy can change systems and societies for the better. 

The Watson Institute's comparative, global approach is strengthened by: 

  • A diverse faculty that contributes expertise from a wide range of academic and professional disciplines. 
  • 11 centers and initiatives that are home to collaborative research and the source of innovative, thought-provoking programming. 
  • Focusing on three main areas — development, security, and governance — the Institute's core research leverages true interdisciplinarity to foster innovative, policy-relevant scholarly activities.
  • Undergraduate and graduate-level academic programs designed to engage students in the pursuit of knowledge, critical thinking, and analytical skills in order to become tomorrow’s leaders. 
  • postdoctoral fellows program that offers young social scientists the opportunity to collaborate with senior scholars and present their ongoing research to a supportive yet critically minded audience.
  • Productive partnerships with a range of departments and initiatives across Brown’s campus and across the world that solidify its multidisciplinary approach and global outlook.

A mission as vital as it is ambitious.

Housed at Brown University, the Watson Institute benefits from the resources — both academic and human — of a top-tier research university known for its commitment to serving the community, the nation and the world.

In keeping with this ethos, the Watson Institute seeks to promote a just and peaceful world through research, teaching and public engagement.

The Watson Institute is proud to house several region or topic-focused centers, initiatives and projects that are dedicated to research, teaching and outreach. These entities also serve as conveners, sponsoring informative events that inspire dialogue among scholars, students and the public.
News from Watson features research, commentary and analysis from our faculty, staff and students. Discover different perspectives on and connections among the Institute's core research areas: development, security and governance.

Celebrating 25 Years


The Watson Institute - Looking Forward