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Policy Impact

At FSI, our scholars don't just study pressing global challenges, they make a difference in the real world.

World-Class Research, Real-World Impact

At FSI, policy impact is our driving force. That starts with world-class research on the most important global challenges of our time. But we don't stop there.

We know that for research to make a difference, we need to bring it to those who have the ability to make change. That's why we organize events to share research with policy actors in Washington, DC, Silicon Valley, and around the world; provide policy advice through briefings, testimony, and track two diplomacy; form long-term research-policy engagements with governments; and engage with news, print, and social media in order to inform the public debate.

We also know that impact requires policy actors to appreciate rigorous research and to act for change. That's why we prepare today and tomorrow's policy leaders through our Master's in International PolicyCenter on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law and Center for International Security and Cooperation Honors Programs; Draper Hills Summer FellowsLeadership Academy for Development; and more. Additionally, we support our students to make an impact on challenging policy problems through the Practicum Program, Global Policy Internships, and Student-Led Initiatives

Finally, FSI scholars have become policymakers themselves, allowing them to make a direct impact on international policy. Recent examples include FSI Director and Senior Fellow Michael McFaul, Senior Fellow Jeremy Weinstein, and Senior Research Scholar Joe Felter. Upon return to FSI, these scholar-policymakers, along with the many other former policymakers in residence at FSI, bring real-world knowledge of policymaking to the institute, strenghtening FSI's capacity for policy impact.

Featured Policy Influencers

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Michael McFaul

Senior Fellow and Director
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Michael McFaul

Senior Fellow and Director
Former US Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Special Assistant to the President, and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council
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Alex Stamos

William J. Perry Fellow
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Alex Stamos

William J. Perry Fellow
Former Chief Security Officer at Facebook and Chief Information Security Officer at Yahoo
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Ertharin Cousin

Frank E. and Arthur W. Payne Distinguished Lecturer and Distinguished Fellow
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Ertharin Cousin

Frank E. and Arthur W. Payne Distinguished Lecturer and Distinguished Fellow
Former Executive Director of the World Food Programme and US Ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture
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Karl Eikenberry

Oksenberg-Rohlen Fellow and Director of the US-Asia Security Initiative
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Karl Eikenberry

Oksenberg-Rohlen Fellow and Director of the US-Asia Security Initiative
Former US Ambassador to Afghanistan and Lieutenant General, US Army

Profiles of Impact: REAP

In China, three out of every four children grow up in rural areas, where education is lacking and poverty is persistent. The Rural Education Action Program, or REAP, aims to improve the condition of this large but overlooked population by conducting rigorous evaluations of on-the-ground interventions designed to improve rural health and education.

In order to bring about lasting policy change, REAP has built long-term partnerships with local, regional, and national policymakers across China, with whom they share findings on which interventions have proven effective. These policymakers can take steps to ensure successful strategies are implemented and scaled. REAP’s policy efforts have brought proven solutions to millions of rural children and their communities.

In the area of nutrition, REAP’s research showed that a simple intervention led to reduced iron deficiency among students, resulting in improved grades. In response, China’s central government launched a $20 billion national program that is delivering free, nutritious school lunches to more than 20 million poor students every day. More recently, REAP has partnered with China’s National Family Planning Commission to provide rural parents the support they need to help their children learn and grow. Over the next 10 years, this partnership has the potential to improve the lives of 50 million children.