About FSI

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About FSI

The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies is Stanford's premier research institute for the study of international affairs.

    Who we are
  • Who we are
  • What we do
  • Contact us
  • Our expertise
  • Our students
  • Our future
  • Our support

Who we are

FSI serves as a hub for Stanford scholars who want to work across disciplines on research that has international impact. Our areas of focus include: governance, security, international development and global health.

Most of FSI's faculty are appointed jointly with another of Stanford's schools or departments. From backgrounds as varied as political science, medicine and engineering, our researchers come together to study complex problems that defy the traditional borders of academia. 

Our work is not limited to the Stanford community; we convene leaders from all over the world for lectures, fellowships, and visiting scholar posts. At FSI, world-renowned political theorists and tech executives collaborate with doctors, former Cabinet members, nuclear physicists, economists, ambassadors and heads of state.

The director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies is Michael McFaul, who served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation under President Barack Obama.

The institute's Executive Committee is comprised of the following individuals:

Michael A. McFaul
Kathryn E. Stoner
Francis Fukuyama
David Lobell
Rodney C Ewing
Scott Sagan
Christophe MGM Crombez
Doug Owens
Gi-Wook Shin
Frank A Wolak
Nathaniel Persily
Dan Boneh
Scott Rozelle
Hongbin Li



What we do

Our mission is to:

Produce world-class, world-wide research: with over 150 researchers from across campus and around the world, FSI is home to a diverse group of research centers and programs that address critical global issues.

Teach and train tomorrow's leaders: Our faculty teach more than 65 classes a year, and mentor dozens of honors and graduate students through guided research.

Engage policymakers: Our work provides context for decision-making in Washington, Geneva, Beijing and beyond. 

Contact us

Our Address

Encina Hall
616 Jane Stanford Way C100
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-6055

General inquiries

fsi-communications@stanford.edu, (+1) 650-723-4581

Media Contact

Student Programs

Event Inquiries

Information for Donors

Our expertise

At FSI, our areas of expertise are:

  • Governance: addressing issues of democracy, dictatorship, corruption and poverty, our scholars and practitioners produce expert research and train civil society activists around the world.

  • Security: We tackle a wide range of international security issues, from longstanding concerns like nuclear proliferation, regional conflict and military defense to new challenges such as cybersecurity and biosecurity.

  • Global Health: In partnership with the School of Medicine, FSI brings together interdisciplinary scholars who address global health problems through the lenses of economics, nutrition, security and politics.

  • International Development: FSI researchers examine international development from new and creative perspectives. Experts in education, health, governance, energy and social justice collaborate to learn how different levers of action can impact communities. 

  • Environment & Energy: At the intersection of physical sciences and policy, our researchers work to find solutions for hunger, environmental degradation, emerging energy markets and more.

  • Regional Expertise: FSI's scholarly work spans the globe, from Beijing to Brazil. Former ambassadors within our faculty include FSI director Michael McFaul (Russia), General Karl Eikenberry (Afghanistan), Kathleen Stephens (Korea), and Michael Armacost (Philippines and Japan). 


The security, governance, climate and development challenges around the world have never been more daunting, but our scholars have never been better positioned to understand and offer solutions. Building on a strong foundation, FSI continues to produce world-class scholarship, teach future generations of leaders and influence international policy by advancing knowledge.

Through our multidisciplinary research centers and programs, FSI has launched new initiatives on U.S.-Asia security, European security, biosecurity, the Middle East, and global governance in the areas of health and economics. In addition, the Stanford Cyber Initiative has relocated to the Freeman Spogli Institute. All of these projects share three characteristics: collaboration among faculty from our different research centers, an interdisciplinary approach to scholarship, and a commitment to producing policy recommendations that address critical global problems. 

Our students

Each year, Stanford undergraduates study with our faculty, join our research trips abroad, and intern with global policy organizations through our Global Student Fellows program.

Our graduate students include pre- and post-docs, research fellowships, and the Ford Dorsey Masters in International Policy (MIP), a two-year master's program that prepares students for professional work in international affairs. Combining multi-disciplinary analysis of the international system with exposure to current world issues, MIP provides students with the foundational skills to address global problems. 

Our future

Globalisation is permanent, but the challenges it produces are constantly shifting. Nations across the world struggle to adapt to the connection - and sometimes collision - of cultures and countries. 

As the world reshapes itself around us, FSI must continue Stanford's tradition of scholarly excellence by addressing the global questions of the future. Our role is not only to anticipate critical problems, but to teach the next generation of leaders to solve them. 

For 30 years, FSI scholars have provided information analysis and impact on issues such as nuclear security, international relations, environment and energy, governance, and global health. 


In the coming decade we plan to expand our reach in each of the three core areas of our mission: 

  1. Research - our strategic plan focuses heavily on investment in new experts, programs and initiatives. 

  2. Teaching - we intend to implement a significant curriculum redesign and expansion of the Ford Dorsey Masters in International Policy.

  3. Policy - we are driven to expand the policy outreach and communications of FSI to increase our impact on the world stage. 

Our support

Most of the institute's activities are supported by research grants and gifts from individual and corporate donors. Of the institute's annual budget of approximately $50 million, 85 percent comes in the form of endowment income, foundation grants, contracts and gifts. The remainder is drawn from university and designated funds.

FSI actively seeks gifts from Stanford alumni and friends.


Frequently asked questions about the Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies at Stanford University

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Our People

Led by Michael McFaul, former US Ambassador to Russia, FSI's faculty includes scholars, practitioners, and experts of every type. On their CV's you might see a series of influential publications, a UN appointment, or a 25-year career in the US military.

Our home at Stanford ensures that FSI is ideally positioned to address the next generation of global problems - and prepare the next generation of problem solvers - for decades to come.
Michael McFaul
FSI Director

Our Centers

FSI serves as a magnet – it plays an increasingly prominent role in forging policy recommendations to help solve some of the most persistent problems of our time.

FSI at a glance

8 Research Centers
48 Research programs
35 Annual Budget (USD millions)
43 Disciplines Represented
61 Classes Taught

Our People

403 Scholars and Staff
50 Appointed Faculty
160 Students


FSI scholars offer expert commentary on contemporary global issues


Ford Dorsey Master's in International Policy

MIP is a two-year graduate program at Stanford University emphasizing the advanced analytical and quantitative methods to decision-making in international affairs.