16 Events

U.S. President George W. Bush jokingly makes a face as he tries to open a locked door as he leaves a press conference in Beijing, China, Nov. 20, 2005.

AP/Charles Dharapak/FILE

Seminar - Harvard Faculty, Fellows, Staff, and Students

What World Leaders Forget about World Politics

Thu., Nov. 2, 2023 | 12:15pm - 1:45pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Stephen M. Walt, Faculty Chair, International Security Program

Scholars have developed several simple and widely accepted concepts to explain key aspects of world politics. Yet leaders of many countries often act in ways that violate these principles, usually with unfortunate consequences for themselves and for others. By contrast, leaders who are aware of these tendencies and take them into account usually do much better. International conflict would not disappear if more policymakers understood and appreciated these simple ideas, but it would probably be reduced significantly.

Open to Harvard ID Holders Only: Admittance will be on a first come–first served basis. Coffee &Tea Provided.

Physical location map of Eurasia

NASA WorldWind/Hellerick

Seminar - Open to the Public

Does Regional Hegemony Still Make Sense?

Thu., Dec. 1, 2022 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm


Speaker: Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs, HKS

Most bids for regional hegemony have been disastrous failures, however, and for reasons that defensive realists have long emphasized. The sole exception is the United States, which succeeded in becoming a regional hegemon because the main obstacles to hegemony were absent in its case. Because the conditions that facilitated U.S. hegemony are less prevalent today, a Chinese attempt to establish hegemony in Asia is likely to fail, and Beijing would be unwise to attempt it.

Everyone is welcome to join us online via Zoom! Please register in advance for this seminar:

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine at the 22nd EU-Ukraine Summit in October 2020.


Seminar - Open to the Public

Ukraine-Russia: A Turning Point for European Security?

Thu., Mar. 3, 2022 | 11:00am - 12:00pm


Please join the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship and the European Club for a discussion with Stephen M. Walt, Robert & Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, and Benjamin Haddad, senior director of the Europe Center at the Atlantic Council, about the diplomatic response of Europe and the United States to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the effectiveness of transatlantic sanctions, and the future of European defense and security. HKS students Khadija Saleh and Angelique Talmor will co-moderate this conversation. 

President Biden spoke with President Ghani on 14 April 2021, affirming U.S. support for continued development, humanitarian, and security assistance in Afghanistan and for a political settlement that lets the Afghan people live in peace.

White House Photo

Seminar - Open to the Public

After Disengagement: U.S. Interests and the Future of Afghanistan

Thu., Apr. 29, 2021 | 4:00pm - 5:30pm


Speakers: Laurel Miller, Director, Asia Program, International Crisis Group; William Ruger, Vice-President, Charles Koch Institute

President Biden has announced that U.S. combat forces will leave Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, ending America's longest war. What lies ahead? How will the end of America's military role affect conditions in Afghanistan, and what impact will this have on U.S. interests in the region and beyond?

Everyone is welcome to join us via Zoom! Please register before the event:

U.S.-Sino Relations


Seminar - Open to the Public

China, the United States, and the Future World Order

Mon., Dec. 14, 2020 | 5:00pm - 6:30pm


Speakers: Thomas J. Christensen (Columbia University); Evelyn Goh (Australian National University); and Yasheng Huang (MIT Sloan School of Management).

The existing global political-economic order has been ruptured by the rise of China, a broad backlash against globalization, uncertainties about the U.S. commitment to a rules-based system, and most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic. What form(s) might a future world order take, and what principles should guide efforts to construct it?

Everyone is welcome to join us via Zoom! Register in advance for this meeting:

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in July 2018.

Wikimedia Commons

Seminar - Open to the Public

The Future World Order: Arms Control

Fri., Sep. 25, 2020 | 12:30pm - 2:00pm


The Project on Managing the Atom and International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs will host a discussion on the future of arms control, as part of a new HKS series on The Future World Order.  The participants will be Emma Belcher (Ploughshares Fund), Matthew Bunn (Belfer Center/Managing the Atom) and Steven E. Miller (Belfer Center/International Security Program).  Professor Stephen Walt (Belfer Center/ISP) will moderate.

The Republican Palace in Baghdad, Iraq, 22 Feb. 2010. The palace served as the headquarters of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and the Green Zone developed around it.

Wikimedia CC

Seminar - Open to the Public

Follies and Fiascoes: Why Does U.S. Foreign Policy Keep Failing?

Thu., Nov. 13, 2014 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

Littauer Building - Belfer Center Library, Room 369

The end of the Cold War left the United States in a remarkable position: It was far and away the world's most powerful country, and it was on good terms with most of the world's major powers. Despite these advantages, its foreign policy record since then is mostly one of disappointments and sometimes costly failures. These recurring follies are due in part to America's structural position in the international system, but they also reveal some recurring weaknesses in America's foreign policy establishment and its overall approach to foreign affairs.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Leaving Theory Behind: Why Too Much Hypothesis Testing is Bad for International Relations

Thu., Nov. 1, 2012 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

Taubman Building - Allison Dining Room, 5th Floor

Theory creating and hypothesis testing are both important elements of social science. Unfortunately, in recent years the balance between theory creation/refinement and the testing of empirical hypotheses has shifted sharply toward the latter. This trend is unfortunate, because insufficient attention to theory can lead to misspecified models and overreliance on misleading measures of key concepts. In addition, the poor quality of much of the data in IR makes it less likely that these efforts will produce useful cumulative knowledge.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Grabbing the Third Rail: Reflections on The Israel Lobby

Thu., Apr. 9, 2009 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

Littauer Building - Belfer Center Library, Room 369

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy is one of the more controversial recent books in international affairs.  This seminar will discuss the book's main thesis, examine some of the critical responses to it, and consider how the debate on the "special relationship" between the United States and Israel has evolved over the past two years.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come-first served basis.