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Philanthropy as Diplomacy: the Private Funding of State Affairs

Monday, March 11, 2013 - 6:00pm - 7:45pm
Columbia University Morningside Campus International Affairs Building, Room 1501


  • Michael Hess, President, M&TCH Consulting and former Assistant Administrator, USAID
  • Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus, Open Society Institute
  • James Allen Smith, Vice President and Director of Research and Education, Rockefeller Archive Center
  • Olivier Zunz, Commonwealth Professor of History, University of Virginia

Philanthropy has been defined as private initiatives for public good, as distinct from government or public initiatives for public good. As private initiatives became increasingly institutionalized during the twentieth century with the Rothschild, Rockefeller, and Ford Foundations, both private and public institutions strove to support or change international approaches to governance, healthcare, and human rights. While some historians claim that the partnership between philanthropic organizations and government largely failed in the 1920s, others argue that powerful alliances predate World War I and continue to shape diplomacy at present. This panel will explore the private funding of affairs of state, as a dialogue which includes foundations and government, but also extends to individuals, entrepreneurs, corporations, and the military.

Categories: Academic