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Walker Institute

History and Mission

The Institute of International Studies was founded in 1961 by Dr. Richard Walker, a noted East Asia expert, prolific scholar, adviser to many government agencies and ambassador to South Korea from 1981 to 1986. After his death in 2003, the Institute of International Studies was named in his honor.

Over the past 50 years, the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies has organized numerous international conferences and events with influential policy-makers from all over the world. Today, the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies is the principal unit at the University of South Carolina for promoting research, scholarship, and public service programs in international affairs and the comparative cross-cultural study of human societies.

The Walker Institute of International and Area Studies was selected by the American Association of University Administrators to receive the 2007 Nikolai Khaladjan International Award. This award recognizes the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies for our contributions in advancing international study and research; the award was presented at the national convention of the AAUA on June 29 in Charleston.



The Walker Institute of International and Area Studies supports international teaching, research, and public affairs programming to help students and faculty see the world through a global lens.



Our mission is realized through a number of specific goals.  These include:

  • To stimulate discussion and awareness of international issues on the USC campus.
  • To encourage USC students and faculty to engage in international travel and research.
  • To promote interdisciplinary research and scholarship on international topics.
  • To serve as a community resource on international issues.



Our goals are achieved through a number of activities and projects:

  • Grants and fellowships for students and faculty promote internationally-themed research activities and allow students to obtain international experiences.
  • Conferences and visiting speakers help to create and foster intellectual engagement and share knowledge through scholarly publications.  
  • Area Studies programs provide opportunities for students to develop knowledge of international issues and provide spaces for faculty with similar geographic interests to interact across academic disciplines.
  • Community outreach and partnerships help to stimulate awareness of global issues in the Columbia area.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.