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January 23, 2008

W.R. Smyser Named as the Henry Alfred Kissinger Scholar in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has appointed W. R. Smyser, adjunct professor in the BMW Center for German and European Studies, Georgetown University, as the Henry Alfred Kissinger Scholar in Foreign Policy and International Relations in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.

Smyser is an expert on the economy and politics of Europe and on global humanitarian matters. While at the Library, Smyser will conduct studies on diplomacy. He is the seventh scholar to occupy the Kissinger chair. The position was created in 2000 through the generosity of friends of Kissinger to honor the former secretary of state and to emphasize the importance of foreign affairs.

During his career, Smyser has worked for the U.S. government, the United Nations and in foundation management and academia. He lived in Germany during the 1930s and later served there with U.S. forces in the 1950s, under General Lucius Clay in Berlin in the 1960s and as a political counselor at the American embassy in Bonn. He was an adviser to the U.S. delegation to the Paris Peace Talks on Vietnam in 1969.

Smyser has held a number of senior executive positions in the White House and was a senior member of Henry Kissinger's National Security Council staff, having played a key role in American efforts to establish diplomatic relations between the United States and Communist China during the 1970s.

In addition to his position at Georgetown University, Smyser teaches at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute, works as a consultant on international politics and economics for private firms and the State Department, and is a periodic commentator for the BBC and Deutsche Welle.

He has written 10 books. The most recent are "The Humanitarian Conscience: Caring for Others in the Age of Terror (2003), "How Germans Negotiate: Logical Goals, Practical Solutions" (2002) and "Yalta to Berlin: the Cold War Struggle over Germany" (1999).

The Kissinger chair program offers outstanding thinkers and practitioners a unique opportunity to pursue advanced research in the largest and most international collection of library materials in the world. Previous chair-holders were Aaron Friedberg, Klaus Larres, Lanxin Xiang, Melvyn Leffler, James Goldgeier and Charles Kupchan.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For more information about the Kluge Center, visit

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PR 08-016
ISSN 0731-3527

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