Our History


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

Within a year, the Latin American Program (now the Latin American Studies Program) and the International Agricultural Development Program (later 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 cam into being at Cornell: the International Programs in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (1962) and Program in International Nutrition (1963).

Existing area studies units, such as the International Legal Studies Program (now International Programs at Cornell Law School), South Asia Program, China Program (now East Asia Program), and Southeast Asia Program came under the CIS umbrella.

A second Ford Foundation grant in 1967 prompted CIS to develop several small projects focused on cross-national and cross-area problems, ultimately resulting in graduate student travel grants. The International Studies in Planning Program was launched in 1969. 


The first decade of CIS operation helped to bring international studies at Cornell in full relief. Throughout the 1970s, CIS attempted to combat a difficult economic climate by developing a vision of academic innovation, particularly through interdisciplinary and comparative endeavors and increased student involvement. This approach resulted in activities such as lectures, seminars, conferences, and student training. 

The center’s drive for innovation also led to the founding of the Peace Studies Program (now the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies) in 1970 and Western Societies Program (now the Cornell Institute for European Studies) in 1973.


The 1980s saw a great expansion of the role and prominence of CIS. It was during this time that four international studies professorships – Binenkorb, Mark, Carpenter, and Knight – were endowed. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education began funding all of Cornell’s five area studies programs simultaneously as Title VI National Resource Centers: East Asia, Latin America, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Institute for European Studies. Through this designation, these programs could now offer government-funded Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships. 

At the request of the Board of Trustees and the alumni-run Cornell University Council, CIS also undertook the development of Cornell Abroad in 1983, Cornell’s undergraduate study abroad program.  In 1984, CIS inaugurated the Henry E. and Nancy Bartels World Affairs Fellowship, a prestigious public event involving a visit by an eminent international public leader. By the close of the decade, CIS initiated three new international studies programs: the Program for Comparative Economic Development in 1985, the Institute for African Development in 1987, and the Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program in 1988.


The center’s scope further developed throughout the 1990s. In 1990, the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD) grew out of the Rural Development Committee, strengthening Cornell’s sustainable development credentials. 

In an effort to provide a forum for staff and faculty members involved in the international dimension of Cornell including those who work with the international student and scholar population or U.S. students who study abroad, CIS instituted the Cornell International Education Network in 1991. That same year, CIS underwent a name change to the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies in recognition of the center’s founder, Mario Einaudi. 

1996 saw the advent of two thematic studies programs: the Comparative Societal Analysis Program and International Political Economy Program. Simultaneously, the Einaudi Center assumed full responsibility for the Fulbright Program, a world-renowned grant-making program allowing students to pursue international education, as well as the cross-college undergraduate International Relations Minor


In its fifth decade of enriching international studies at Cornell, the Einaudi Center continued to amplify Cornell’s work in and about the world. Three more programs broadened the capabilities of the Einaudi Center: the Comparative Muslim Societies Program in 2001, Global Business Education Program in 2002, and Global Health Program (which subsumed the Program in International Nutrition) in 2006.

Since 2005, the Einaudi Center’s Foreign Policy Initiative (now the Foreign Policy Forum) has devoted resources to the expansion of international affairs awareness on campus, including speaker series, debates, funding, and other special events. The push for active international outreach also led to the development of Cornell’s International Gateway website (international.cornell.edu). New funding opportunities, such as the Faculty Seed Grant program and Faculty Small Grant program, have served to enhance the Einaudi Center’s support for distinguished scholarship in international studies.

2010 - Present 

The Einaudi Center remains dedicated to its core mission: to catalyze and support research, teaching, and outreach activities that advance international studies at Cornell, in order to contribute to our knowledge of the world. As new issues in international studies arise, the Einaudi Center will mobilize its resources to address them. Whether through the enhancement of existing programs and initiatives, or through the creation of new ones, the Einaudi Center will remain a beacon of intellectual pursuits pertaining to the international arena.