News Release

Trustee Phil Knight donates $15 million to Brookings’s Foreign Policy program

September 1, 2021

Washington, D.C. — The Brookings Institution announced today that Trustee Phil Knight has made a transformative gift of $15 million to its Foreign Policy program, the largest commitment in Brookings’s history to a single research program from an individual donor. This support will establish an endowed Philip H. Knight Chair in Defense and Strategy and provide five years of support to the Center on Security, Strategy, and Technology. The Center will be renamed the Strobe Talbott Center on Security, Strategy, and Technology, in honor of the institution’s previous president, who served from July 2002 to October 2017. The naming of the Center in honor of Strobe Talbott recognizes his remarkable contributions to Brookings and to American foreign policy over a long career in journalism, public service, and academia. 

“Phil is a philanthropic leader of the first order, advancing institutions of higher learning, scientific research, educational access, and public policy,” said Brookings Institution President John R. Allen. “On behalf of the Brookings community, I am incredibly grateful to Phil for his profound generosity, which will accelerate and sustain the impact of our great scholars in Foreign Policy for years and generations to come.” 

The Strobe Talbott Center on Security, Strategy, and Technology will bring together experts on U.S. grand strategy; U.S. military affairs, including defense modernization, innovation, and technology; American alliances and security partnerships; transnational threats; arms control; and U.S. foreign policy in the changing international order. This work is critical as traditional norms about American leadership are challenged in policymaking and public debates. 

“At a time of great international promise, but also peril, for international security and the global economy, it is essential that we get great-power relations right,” said Knight. “Brookings’s team of security specialists, regional experts, and economists positions it like no other to conduct the essential research needed for effective U.S. foreign policy and leadership in a shifting and uncertain global landscape. I am pleased to support research that will promote a more cooperative and secure world.”  

The inaugural holder of the Knight Chair will be Senior Fellow and Director of Research in Foreign Policy Michael O’Hanlon. The resources provided by this gift will enable Brookings to continue to achieve real impact on critical national security issues now and well into the future.  

The Foreign Policy program at Brookings is the leading center of policy-relevant scholarship exploring the major challenges to international peace and security posed by rapidly re-ordering geopolitics of major powers; the disordering relations among states and transnational actors; and changing dynamics in defense, technology, energy, and climate.  

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