Nye, Walt and Ruggie Named Most Influential Faculty in Foreign Affairs

March 16, 2009
By Beth Maclin, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Harvard Kennedy School Professor Joseph Nye, a member of the Belfer Center board of directors, is the most influential international relations scholar on U.S. foreign policy in the last 20 years, while the Belfer Center’s Stephen Walt and John Ruggie both rank among the 20 most influential academics in international relations, according to a biannual survey of international relations faculty by the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) Project.

Nye, Walt, and Ruggie not only ranked high on the list of those producing the most interesting scholarship in the past five years, they also landed on the list of those having the greatest influence on the field of international relations in the past 20 years.

Nye ranked as the sixth most-influential international relations scholar in the last 20 years, and No. 1 with respect to his influence in U.S. foreign policy. Ruggie ranked 14th on the list of most influential in the last 20 years, while Walt ranked 17th.

The survey, which is published by The Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations at The College of William and Mary, is based on the answers of 2,724 international relations scholars from around the world.

The quarterly journal International Security, published by the Belfer Center at Harvard Kennedy School, placed second in a list of journals that publish the best research in respondents’ areas of expertise.

Nye, a Harvard University distinguished service professor, also ranked ninth for having the greatest influence on Canada’s foreign policy. Nye is best known for the concept “soft power,” which he defined in a Harvard Kennedy School Insight interview as: “the ability to get what you what through attraction rather than coercion and payment.”

Respondents ranked Ruggie, the Evron and Jeanne Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School and director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, fifth for having the most influence on their own work. Ruggie is a faculty affiliate of the Belfer Center. Nye was ranked fourteenth for this question.

Ruggie’s research focuses on the implications of fundamental changes in global security, economic and environmental relations for multilateral cooperation and the evolving global order. He is a former United Nations assistant secretary-general, where he was responsible for the Global Compact, intended to advance human rights, labor standards, and environmental principles in global corporate practices.

Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. He served as the school’s academic dean from 2002-2006. He previously taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he served as master of the Social Science Collegiate Division and deputy dean of social sciences. He serves as faculty chair of the International Security Program at the Belfer Center and as co-chair of the editorial board of the journal International Security.

Joseph Nye

Harvard Kennedy School Professor Joseph Nye, a member of the Belfer Center board of directors, has been named most influential international relations scholar on U.S. foreign policy in the last 20 years.


John F. Kennedy School of Government 79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-1100 Get Directions Visit Contact Page