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Watson starts military fellowship program

Partnering with Carnegie Corporation, U. plans to offer fellowships to mid-level military officers

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs is establishing a program to bring mid-level U.S. military officers to campus for one-year fellowships after receiving a $1 million grant from The Carnegie Corporation of New York earlier this month.

The funding will cover up to four fellowships each year for the next two years, according to a University press release. During their time at the University, the fellows will pursue opportunities such as auditing classes at the Graduate School and writing a paper on a policy topic of their choice. 

“The idea is to expand the (officers’) understanding of economic, political, cultural and governance aspects of global security, because peace and security issues are so complex and interdependent,” said Deana Arsenian, vice president of the International Program at Carnegie.

The military is an important part of society, government and public service, said Edward Steinfeld, director of the Watson Institute. “Because we are focused on international and public affairs, we think it’s important to have voices from the military present in our community,” he said.

Jason Schultz, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, is a PhD candidate in political science. He was given the opportunity to study at Brown through the U.S. Army’s Advanced Strategic Planning and Policy Program, which provides officers with a civilian graduate education.

The presence of members of the military on campus is mutually beneficial to the military and the University, Schultz said. “This is where you build the bridge so to speak between academia and practice.”

Military personnel are able to develop research and analysis skills at the University, Schultz said. He has gained  “not only academic exposure, but exposure to ideas that are diverse and different from what we would normally be exposed to,” he said.

At the same time, students have the opportunity to learn from military members’ practical knowledge.

“Students that would otherwise never get exposure to folks that are in the military have a chance to actually interact with us,” and this helps to break stereotypes and misconceptions, Schultz said. “We’re not all cut from the same mold.”

Schultz advised incoming military fellows to take advantage of the numerous opportunities to learn outside the classroom in their time at the University.

“The whole point is to be broadened when you’re here, the point is not to just enforce pre-existing notions,” Schultz said. Though “we tend to be kind of mission-focused,” engaging in opportunities that might seem “ancillary to the mission … is absolutely beneficial.”

In their time on campus, military fellows will “be playing a role as active voices in the community,” Steinfeld said. “We’re just thrilled that Carnegie saw this as a valuable endeavor.”

The Carnegie Corporation awards grants to institutions with programs that align with their objectives and priorities, Arsenian said. The Watson grant “is very consistent with our legacy as well as our current priorities.”

The Watson Institute and Carnegie Corporation have a relationship that dates back to the 1980s, when both institutions had an academic focus on U.S.-Soviet affairs, Arsenian said. “The corporation has been supporting various programs at the Watson Institute for over 30 years,” she said. Former University president Vartan Gregorian has been president of the Carnegie Corporation since 1997, she added.


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