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Columbia University's School of International Affairs was founded in 1946, in the aftermath of World War II. Emphasizing practical training, the School's mission was to foster understanding of regions of vital interest and to prepare diplomats, officials, and other professionals to meet the complexities of the postwar world. It originated in dynamic regional institutes that, with an interdisciplinary vision bold for its day, drew on Columbia's renowned faculties in history, economics, political science, linguistics, and other traditional fields. The school awarded a Master of International Affairs (MIA) degree.
By 1950, three regional institutes were in operation: the Russian Institute (now the Harriman Institute), established in 1946 and the first of its kind in the United States, the East Asian Institute, and the European Institute, both founded in 1949. During the 1950s and 1960s, the School expanded in scope and depth. SIA, as it was called, developed a national and international reputation as a leading center for educational and research programs in area studies, security, and international relations. By 1967, the School was home to eight regional institutes, covering nearly every corner of the globe. Originally housed in a row of brownstones, the School moved to a new building on Columbia University's east campus in 1971.
In 1977, the School added the Master of Public
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Columbia is led by President Lee C. Bollinger. The University's governance is directed by the 24-member Board of Trustees and by the University Senate.
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