Distinguished Alumni

Distinguished Alumni


For over 90 years, the Institute of Current World Affairs has provided promising, intellectually curious young individuals with the rare ability to explore a country or region in great depth.  ICWA’s investment over the past century has yielded a panoply of highly distinguished individuals who have become leaders in their fields.  Here is a sample of some of ICWA’s most accomplished alumni:

barnettA. Doak Barnett

Fellowship Years: 1947-1952

Area: Far East China

A noted China scholar, devoted teacher, and a firm believer in the importance of productive Sino-American relations. Following his Fellowship in China, Mr. Barnett served as a public affairs officer at the American Consulate in Hong Kong and then as an associate for the American Universities Field Staff until 1955.  He went on to teach and consult at the State Department Foreign Service Institute, Syracuse University, the National Planning Association and the Ford Foundation before becoming a professor of Political Science at Columbia University in 1961.  In 1966 he was the principal witness in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee review of China policy, which is credited with influencing Presidents Nixon and Johnson. Mr. Barnett then spent thirteen years as a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, after which he became a Professor of Chinese Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He is the author or editor of more than 20 books, including China’s Far West: Four Decades of Change, 1994. Deceased.

HempstoneSmithSmith Hempstone Jr.

Fellowship Years: 1956-1960

Area: Africa

A journalist and ambassador and advocate for democracy.  Following his ICWA Fellowship, Mr. Hempstone worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa, Latin America, and Europe.  He held several editorial positions at Washington newspapers before becoming the Editor-in-Chief of the Washington Times.  In 1989 Mr. Hempstone was appointed ambassador to Kenya by President George H.W. Bush.  While ambassador he advocated vocally for a free vote at a time when all political parties but the one in power were banned in Kenya.  He did this despite significant pushback from the Kenyan government, criticism and mockery in the press and, at times, threats to his life.  Kenya hosted a multiparty election in 1992, shortly before the end of his tenure as ambassador.  He went on to be the diplomat in residence at his alma mater, The University of the South, and at the Virginia Military Institute.  He is the author of several books including Africa, Angry Young Giant (1961), Rebels, Mercenaries and Dividends (1962), A Tract of Time (1966), In the Midst of Lions (1968), Rogue Ambassador: An African Memoir (1997) about his time as ambassador to Kenya. Deceased.

HoltPatPat M. Holt

Fellowship Years: 1961-1962

Area: Latin America

A freelance journalist who reported for various newspapers and for the Congressional Quarterly. Mr. Holt joined the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1950 and became the committee’s specialist in Latin American relations in 1958. Shortly afterwards came Vice President Richard Nixon ‘s ill-fated tour of South America, ending with the storming of his limousine in Venezuela, and then Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba. Latin American relations assumed an increasingly important position on the committee’s agenda. In 1965, suspicions over the Lyndon Johnson administration’s version of conditions in the Dominican Republic gave Holt a unique opportunity to examine State Department and CIA records. His findings played a part in Chairman J. William Fulbright ‘s break with the Johnson administration. Holt later served as chief of staff under the chairmanships of Fulbright and John Sparkman. Holt remained with the Committee until his retirement in 1977. He is the author of Letters from the Argentine (1943). Deceased.

Eden Ross LipsonEden Ross Lipson

Fellowship Years: 1966-1970

Topic: New Towns and City Planning

The children’s book editor for the New York Times Book Review for 31 years, until her retirement in 2005. Ms. Lipson was the author of the New York Times Parent’s Guide to the Best Books for Children. She often appeared on television and radio to discuss children’s literature. She earned a bachelor’s in political science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1964 and was the director of policy planning for New York City Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Administration before taking her post at the New York Times Book Review. Deceased.

N MungerEdwin S. Munger 

Fellowship Years: 1950-1954

Area: Sub-Saharan Africa

A professor of geography and renowned Africa expert. During his ICWA Fellowship and work with the American Universities Field Staff, Mr. Munger lived in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.  He continued his work in Africa in the 1960s, working as a Peace Corps evaluator in Uganda and Botswana.  He was appointed to a State Department advisory council on African affairs in 1971. For fourteen years he served as president of the Leakey Foundation.  During that time he began the foundation’s Baldwin Fellowships, which have helped African scholars receive advanced degrees in archeology and related areas.  Mr. Munger also started the Cape of Good Hope Foundation, which has supported black universities in southern Africa with millions of dollars in books.  He became a professor at the California Institute of Technology in 1961 and won the top teaching prize awarded by the student body in 1976.  He became a professor emeritus in 1988.  He amassed the largest private collection of books on sub-Saharan Africa in the United States, consisting of over 60,000 volumes. He is also the author of fourteen books, including Bechuanaland (1966)  Afrikaner and African Nationalism (1967), The Afrikaners (1979), Rwanda (1990), Cultures, Chess and Art: A Collector’s Odyssey Across Seven Continent: Volume 1 Sub Saharan Africa (1996); Vol. 2 The Americas (1998)and Vol. 3 Pacific Islands and the Asian Rim (1999). Deceased.

RusinowDennisonDennison Rusinow

Fellowship Years: 1958-1963

Area: Austria and Adriatic Europe

Professor and European affairs specialist. Following his Fellowship Mr. Rusinow was an Associate of the American Universities Field Staff in Belgrade and Vienna for more than twenty years and became the most knowledgeable person of his generation about the region in general and Tito’s Yugoslavia in particular. He also served as the associate director of the organization. In 1967, he briefly served as Executive Director of the Institute of Current World Affairs. He held several teaching positions and eventually became a professor at the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh in 1988 and remained there until his retirement in 2000.  He is the author of several books including Italy’s Austrian Heritage (1969) and The Yugoslav Experiment, 1948-74 (1977), considered a seminal text on the history of Yugoslavia. Deceased.

TalbotPhillipsPhillips Talbot

Fellowship Years: 1938-1941/1946-1950

Area: India and Pakistan

A diplomat who worked to mediate crises in South Asia and the Middle East.  Following his Fellowship he served in India during World War II as a U.S. Naval Liaison officer and in China as an Assistant Naval Attaché.  Mr. Talbot helped to found the American Universities Field Staff and served as its executive director from 1951-1961, during which time he received his doctorate from the University of Chicago.  In 1961 he was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to serve as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs.  He then served as U.S. ambassador to Greece from 1965-1969 and during his time as ambassador a military coup overthrew the Greek government.  Upon his return from Greece he served as President of the Asia Society until his retirement in 1981.  Mr. Talbot is the author of multiple books, including a compilation of his ICWA newsletters entitled An American Witness to India’s Partition (2007). Deceased.

Warren Unna

Fellowship Years: 1958-1959

Areas: Israel, Egypt, Yugoslavia, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Finland, Denmark, Ireland

Topic: Arguments for Neutrality and Non-Alignment

An American journalist. In the course of his ICWA Fellowship, Mr. Unna observed and wrote about the conditions in nonaligned countries in Asia and Europe, interviewing the leaders of those countries. His work as a reporter for the Washington Post landed Mr. Unna on the master list of Nixon political opponents. He was later Post bureau chief in New Delhi, and after retirement from the Post in the 1980s was correspondent for the Calcutta-based The Statesman in Washington.