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Francis J. Gavin photo

Francis J. Gavin

American Assembly selects Gavin to
lead initiative
to revamp U.S. international institutions

The American Assembly has appointed Francis J. Gavin, assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, as director of its Next Generation Project: Creating Better Global Institutions for America.

The American Assembly, an affiliate of Columbia University, is a national, educational, nonpartisan institution that aims to “illuminate issues of public policy.” The Next Generation Project is designed to stimulate new thinking about the international institutional framework that has served the United States for more than 50 years but may need to be changed to better address the new needs of a post-Cold War, post-9/11 world.

It will engage both the next generation of emerging political, academic, professional and civic U.S. leaders and senior experts who have played or currently play a major role in making American international policy. The project’s advisory council includes such luminaries as U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, former Federal Reserve Board of Governors Chairman Paul Volcker and Senator Richard Lugar. Among the steering committee members are Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs.

The multiyear project will include a series of national assemblies preceded by regional assemblies across the country, cosponsored by several of the nation’s leading public policy institutions and universities. The intention is to spur much-needed public dialogue on U.S. foreign policy objectives and the means to carry them out, as well as provide a strong measure of public information on the way the United States and the international community are responding to the current international environment. Gavin plans to hold at least one national meeting at the soon to be announced Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin.

As director, Gavin will design the intellectual framework and agenda for the overall project in addition to developing agendas and convening periodic meetings of the project’s Advisory Council and Steering Committee. The American Assembly has raised upwards of one million dollars to seed the project.

“Frank has the requisite brainpower to master the complexity of this project and the respect of the policymaking community and academia,” said Richard W. Fisher, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, who developed the Next Generation Project during his tenure as chairman of the American Assembly. “Most importantly, he has an entrepreneurial instinct and presence that we found almost unique among the very strong candidate group we reviewed.”

Admiral Bobby R. Inman, who is the former director of the National Security Agency, a trustee of the American Assembly, and LBJ School interim dean, added, “Frank Gavin is one of the brightest young leaders of his generation.”

“I am very honored to be working on such an exciting project with the American Assembly, one of the most distinguished public policy forums in the world,” said Gavin. “Calling together the nation's best talent to study how best to improve both our national and global institutions is of vital importance to our future prosperity and security. This exercise will also highlight the exciting new directions the LBJ School and UT are taking to meet the global challenges of the 21st century."

A historian by training, Gavin’s teaching and research interests focus on U.S. foreign policy, national security affairs, nuclear strategy and arms control, presidential policymaking, and the history of international monetary relations.

Gavin joined the LBJ School faculty in the fall of 2000. He was previously an Olin National Security Fellow at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs and an International Security Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. His publications include numerous scholarly articles, book reviews and editorials. Gavin has won several prestigious awards and honors, including the 2002-2003 Smith Richardson Junior Faculty fellowship in International Security and Foreign Policy and the 2003-2004 Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellowship at the University of Texas. He received a Ph.D. and an M.A. in diplomatic history from the University of Pennsylvania, an MSt. in modern European history from Oxford, and a B.A. in political science (with honors) from the University of Chicago.

Founded by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1950, the American Assembly brings together leaders from a broad range of backgrounds and opinions to prepare consensus statements and recommendations addressed to policymakers, lawmakers and the public. In more than 100 national American Assemblies and in regional and international forums, thousands of public opinion leaders and decisionmakers have gathered from throughout the country and the world. Through commissioned research, publications and meetings, the American Assembly provides a singular venue for examining and shaping the formulation of sustainable public policy.

For additional information visit or contact David H. Mortimer of the American Assembly at (212) 870-3500 or

Related Links

International Security publishes Professor Gavin’s article on nuclear proliferation

Nuclear Proliferation: Rogue States and Lessons from the Past
by Francis J. Gavin

Professor Francis J. Gavin Receives Harrington Fellowship

LBJ School Professor Wins Smith Richardson Foundation Grant in International Security and Foreign Policy

LBJ School Professor Frank Gavin Probes the 1960s to Illuminate Current U.S. Foreign Policy Dilemmas

© Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
P.O. Box Y
Austin, TX 78713-8925

7 September 2005

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