Afghani women protest

FSI Newsroom

FSI scholars offer expert analysis and commentary on contemporary global issues.


Protests demonstrate against Vladimir Putin outside a Russian-owned international investment bank in Budapest, Hungary.

President Zelenskyy Speaks to Stanford Students in Special Video Address

Lyubov Sobol, an activist and visiting scholar at CDDRL, explains why the success of Russia's pro-democracy movement is important for geopolitical stability.
The Supreme Court

Protecting Reproductive Health Information Health Information Post-Roe v. Wade

Michelle Mello warns that the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and end federal protections for abortion could also expose women's' personal health data in court.
Shinzo Abe speaking from a lectern

Reflections on the Assassination of Former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe

Abe was one of the most transformative political leaders in modern Japanese history, and his passing will unquestionably shake-up Japanese politics, says Kiyoteru Tsutsui



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Michael A. McFaul
The 2022 graduating class of the Ford Dorsey Master's in International Policy.

A Return to In-person Graduation for the 2022 Master’s in International Policy Class

News / June 14, 2022
After two years of online ceremonies due to the pandemic, the Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy program celebrated with a fully in-person graduation ceremony for the 2022 graduating class.
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President Zelenskky addresses Stanford students and community members via a live video address in the CEMEX auditorium.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Calls on Students to Lead as Future Ambassadors in a Special Video Address at Stanford

News / June 1, 2022
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to the Stanford community in a special video address about his country’s war against Russia for independence, freedom, and global democracy, which he said requires the continued support of all the people of the free world.
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President Barack Obama at the “Challenges to Democracy in the Digital Information Realm" conference.

Barack Obama Addresses the Intersection of Online Disinformation, Regulation and Democracy at Stanford Event

News / May 3, 2022
At a conference hosted by the Cyber Policy Center and Obama Foundation, former U.S. President Barack Obama delivered the keynote address about how information is created and consumed, and the threat that disinformation poses to democracy.
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Some of the original Ukrainian alumni from the Draper Hills Summer Fellowship gather in Kyiv in 2013.

A History of Unity: A Look at FSI’s Special Relationship with Ukraine

News / April 4, 2022
Since 2005, the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies has cultivated rich academic ties and friendships with Ukrainian scholars and civic leaders as part of our mission to support democracy and development domestically and abroad.
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picture of Ukraine flag background

State Media, Social Media, and the Conflict in Ukraine: What Should the Platforms Do?

News / March 10, 2022
On March 4th, Cyber Policy Center experts and experts in industry gathered to discuss the propaganda battles related to the conflict already in full force.
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map of ukraine

What is Going On Inside Vladimir Putin's Head? 12 Experts Weigh In

Commentary / March 2, 2022
Russian president Vladimir Putin is keeping the world guessing as western intelligence says the invasion he ordered of Ukraine has not been as successful or as swift as he had hoped.
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People gather at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, 2021.

Lawmakers are Slowly Warming Up to Policy on Climate Change

News / February 17, 2022
Climate expert Marshall Burke joins the World Class podcast to talk through what’s going right, what’s going wrong, and what more needs to be done to translate data on the climate crisis into meaningful policy.
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Members of the Ukrainian military carry the flag of Ukraine during the 30th anniversary of the country's independence.

What the Ukraine-Russia Crisis Says about the Global Struggle for Democracy

News / January 7, 2022
Former prime minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Honcharuk joins Michael McFaul on the World Class Podcast to analyze Russia's aggression towards Ukraine and how it fits into Vladamir Putin's bigger strategy to undermine democracy globally.
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Chito Gascón

Remembering Chito Gascón

News / October 12, 2021
A member of the inaugural Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program cohort in 2005, Chito died from COVID-19 on October 9, 2021.
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Oleksiy Honcharuk

Oleksiy Honcharuk Appointed the Bernard and Susan Liautaud Visiting Fellow

News / October 7, 2021
Honcharuk, formerly the prime minister of Ukraine, will focus on examining what Western allies can do to support Ukraine in its struggle to thrive as a democracy in Eastern Europe while at Stanford.
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Staff of The World House Project on the stairs of Encina Hall

The World House Project, Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Vision of a More Just and Peaceful Future, Launches at FSI

News / October 4, 2021
Led by Clayborne Carson, the new project works to realize King's vision of the world as a large house in which "we must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.”
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Screenshot of Draper Hills 2021 opening session

Global Democracy Leaders Gather Virtually for the 2021 Draper Hills Summer Fellowship

News / August 18, 2021
For the next two weeks, Fellows will participate in workshops led by an interdisciplinary team of faculty to study new theories and approaches to democratic development.
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Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya discusses the future of democracy in Belarus with a roundtable of Stanford scholars.

Belarusian Leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya Meets with Stanford Scholars for Roundtable on Democracy in Belarus

News / August 4, 2021
Democratic leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and her delegation joined an interdisciplinary panel of Stanford scholars and members of the Belarusian community to discuss the future of democracy in Belarus.
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Flags of the United States and Russia

Stanford Experts Weigh In on What to Expect at the Biden-Putin Summit

News / June 14, 2021
Scholars at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies hope that President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin will lay the groundwork for negotiations in the near future, particularly around nuclear weapons.
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Joe Biden in the Rose Garden

Biden’s Foreign Policy: What We Can Expect for China, Russia and Iran

News / March 17, 2021
On the World Class Podcast, experts discuss how the Biden Administration should navigate three of America’s most challenging bilateral relationships.
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storming of capital 2021

To Support Democracy Abroad, the U.S. Needs To Set Its Own House In Order, says FSI Director Michael McFaul

News / January 14, 2021
Former U.S. ambassador to Russia and Stanford political scientist Michael McFaul recommends that the incoming Biden administration “go big” in its efforts to reaffirm core democratic values – including passing comprehensive, structural reforms.
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McFaul: Can America and Russia Cooperate in Syria?

Commentary / January 6, 2016

President Vladimir Putin's decision to intervene in Syria marked a major turning point in Russian foreign policy in 2015. FSI Director and former U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation Michael McFaul argues that in the long run, Russia could become a partner in the global fight against terrorism. And, in principle, the U.S., the EU, and countries around the world should welcome Russian cooperation in this mission.

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McFaul on 'Twitter diplomacy'

News / October 2, 2014

FSI Senior Fellow Michael McFaul speaks with BBC World Tonight on his use of 'Twitter diplomacy' as an instrumental tool during his time as U.S. Ambassador to Russia. McFaul made an exerted effort to interact with the Russian populace young and old via social media, which sparked some criticism from the Russian government. 

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FSI's Mike McFaul on the 'judo master' in the Kremlin

Commentary / August 5, 2014
Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute, is featured in this week's New Yorker magazine and writes in this Politico piece that Russia's President Vladimir Putin sees a path to glory that does not involve democratic governance and ignores international norms.
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CISAC experts command airwaves as Obama rolls out nuclear agenda

News / April 13, 2010
With the release of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, the signing of the new START Treaty and President Obama's Nuclear Security Summit, it's been a memorable time for CISAC's security experts, many of whom played prominent as well as behind-the-scenes roles in negotiations related to these events, as ongoing news coverage reveals.
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CISAC goes to Washington

News / October 7, 2009
CISAC may be geographically distant from Washington, DC, but its influence inside the Beltway has been underscored by five scholars now serving in the Obama administration. Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, Michael McFaul, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Paul Stockton and Jeremy Weinstein have all been closely affiliated with the center.
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Russia expert appointed to national security posts

News / February 20, 2009
Stanford political science Professor Michael McFaul has been tapped by President Barack Obama to serve as special assistant to the president for National Security Affairs and senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council.
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Russia expert Michael McFaul appointed to senior national security posts

News / February 19, 2009
Political science Professor Michael McFaul, former deputy director of FSI and director of its Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, has been tapped by President Obama to serve as special assistant to the president for National Security Affairs and senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council.
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The myth of the authoritarian model: How Putin's crackdown holds Russia back

Commentary / September 24, 2008
The conventional explanation for Vladimir Putin's popularity is straightforward. In the 1990s, under post-Soviet Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin, the state did not govern, the economy shrank, and the population suffered. Since 2000, under Putin, order has returned, the economy has flourished, and the average Russian is living better than ever before. As political freedom has decreased, economic growth has increased. Putin may have rolled back democratic gains, the story goes, but these were necessary sacrifices on the altar of stability and growth.
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