September 6, 2016 Barry Posen Begins Tenure as Kissinger Chair at John W. Kluge Center

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Jason Steinhauer (202) 707-0213

Political scientist Barry R. Posen, who was named the Henry A. Kissinger chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress John W. Kluge Center, arrived today, Sept. 6. He will be in residence for six months.

Posen is the Ford International Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and director of the MIT Security Studies Program. He is the author of three books, including “Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy” (2014), “Inadvertent Escalation: Conventional War and Nuclear Risks” (1991) and the award-winning “The Sources of Military Doctrine” (1984).

While at the Kluge Center, Posen will use the Library’s collections to study the implications for the United States of a multipolar international order. According to Posen, the National Intelligence Council of the U.S. intelligence community has predicted a diffusion of power and the emergence of a multipolar system—when four or more nation-states have nearly equal amounts of military, cultural and economic power—by the middle of this century.

“These are forecasts, and it is possible that they are wrong,” Posen says. “Nevertheless, if the distribution of capabilities is indeed moving toward multi-polarity, it will be helpful to have thought through the challenges posed by such a system for the U.S. as well as for other states.”

Posen has served on the faculty of MIT since 1987. Previously, he was an assistant professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. An elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Posen has received fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Ford Foundation, the German Marshall Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

The Kissinger Chair is a distinguished senior research position; its holder is in residence at the Library for a period of up to 10 months. Using research facilities and services at the Library of Congress, the scholar is expected to engage in research on foreign policy and international affairs that will lead to publication and share his or her expertise, through public lectures and dialogues, with Congress and other policymakers.

The annual appointment of the Kissinger scholar is made by the Librarian of Congress upon the recommendation of a selection committee consisting of representatives from the academic community and foreign-policy experts. The appointment ensures that the subject of foreign affairs, taken broadly, receives reflective and considered treatment each year in Washington, D.C., by distinguished, experienced scholars and practitioners.

The John W. Kluge Center was established at the Library of Congress in 2000 to foster a mutually enriching relationship between the world of ideas and the world of action, between scholars and political leaders. The center attracts distinguished scholars to Washington, D.C., facilitates their access to the Library’s remarkable collections and helps them engage in conversation with policymakers and the public. Learn more at

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PR 16-150
ISSN 0731-3527