Coronavirus Updates: Cornell is working with campus partners, as well as local and state resources, to protect the health and well-being of the Cornell community. Learn more ⟶

Our history

einaudi tribute

The Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies’ roots trace back to 1961, when professor Mario Einaudi led an effort to establish the Cornell Center for International Studies (CIS). The center's goal was to stimulate, support, and coordinate the university's efforts in all facets of international research and learning. 


Within a year of its founding, the Latin American Studies Program and the Population and Development Program had come on board. In 1962, CIS received a substantial endowment from the Ford Foundation to strengthen and expand its reach. Around this time, two new programs were added to the CIS portfolio: International Programs in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (1962) and the Program in International Nutrition (1963).

Existing area studies units, such as International Programs at Cornell Law School, the South Asia Program, East Asia Program, and Southeast Asia Program, also came under the CIS umbrella.

A second Ford Foundation grant in 1967 allowed CIS to launch graduate student travel grants. The International Studies in Planning Program was inaugurated in 1969. 


Difficult economic times gave rise to a spirit of academic innovation, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary and comparative projects and increased student involvement. This translated into activities such as lectures, seminars, conferences, and student training.

The center launched what is now the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies in 1970 and the Cornell Institute for European Studies in 1973.


It was during this decade that four international studies professorships – Binenkorb, Mark, Carpenter, and Knight – were endowed. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education began funding all five of CIS’ area studies programs as Title VI National Resource Centers. This allowed them to offer government-funded Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships.

In 1983, CIS created Cornell’s undergraduate overseas study program, Cornell Abroad. In 1984, the center inaugurated the Henry E. and Nancy Bartels World Affairs Fellowship to bring a major international figure to campus each year. By the end of the 1980s, CIS had launched the Program for Comparative Economic Development (1985), Institute for African Development (1987), and Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program (1988).


In 1990, the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD) was born out of the Rural Development Committee, strengthening the center's sustainable development credentials. 

In an effort to provide a forum for internationally engaged students, staff, and faculty, CIS created the Cornell International Education Network in 1991. That same year, the center changed its name to the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies in honor of its founding director. Mario Einaudi died in 1994. 

Two thematic studies programs were born in 1996: the Comparative Societal Analysis Program and the International Political Economy Program. That year, the Einaudi Center assumed responsibility for the U.S. government-funded Fulbright Program and launched the undergraduate International Relations Minor


Three more programs came on board in the 2000s: the Comparative Muslim Societies Program (2001), Global Business Education Program (2002), and Global Health Program (2006), which subsumed the Program in International Nutrition.

In 2005, the Einaudi Center’s Foreign Policy Forum was formed to increase awareness of international affairs on campus. The forum organized funding, speaker series, debates, a working paper series, and other activities. 

New funding opportunities, such as the Faculty Seed Grant and Faculty Small Grant programs, were established to support scholarship in international studies.


In 2012, a Task Force on Internationalization organized by then-president David Skorton reasserted the importance of the Einaudi Center in fulfilling Cornell's ambition to be a truly global university. Funds were made available through the five-year Global Cornell Initiative to help realize some of the task force's recommendations.

The Einaudi Center now provides a home for six area studies programs (Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, South Asia, Southeast Asia) and two thematic programs (comparative Muslim societies, peace and conflict). Meridian 180 joined as an affiliated program in 2016.  

Most of the core programs offer seminar series, grants, and fellowships. Several publish scholarly books, while LASP and CIES offer minors. The center itself provides several grant opportunities for students and faculty, organizes and supports working groups on a variety of topics, assists with graduate student training, and presents lectures, roundtables, debates, conferences, workshops, and other activities.

The Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies remains dedicated to its core mission: to catalyze and support research, teaching, and outreach to advance international studies at Cornell. Under director Hirokazu Miyazaki, the center has also sought to strengthen its ties beyond the university through its working groups, publications, digital communications, and other forms of engagement.

Our directors

Mario Einaudi (1961–1962; 1966–1968), Stephen Muller (1962–1966), Douglas E. Ashford (1968–1969), Milton J. Esman (1969–1983), Davydd J. Greenwood (1983–1994), Ron Herring (1996–2002), Nicolas van de Walle (2004–2008), Gilbert Levine (interim 1988–1989, 1994–1996, 2002–2003, 2009), Fredrik Logevall (2010–2015), Hirokazu Miyazaki (2015–2018), Rachel Beatty Riedl (2019–present). 

For more, please visit our community on the Cornell Library's eCommons site