Student leaders network with representatives of different international affairs career tracks at our 2019 conference in Washington.
Student leaders network with representatives of different international affairs career tracks at our 2019 conference in Washington.

Our nation’s foreign policy is on the wrong track. We spent twenty years fighting an endless war in Afghanistan. Iraq still hasn’t recovered from our 2003 invasion. We’ve been saying for a decade that we’ll shift our focus to Asia, yet we struggle to turn away from the Middle East and Europe. We’ve become overreliant on military power and even tried to turn soldiers into diplomats and aid workers. Yet there has been little serious reflection in Washington on whether our nation’s strategy is too assertive or whether we define our national interests too broadly.  Indeed, many calls for involvement in new conflicts seem to contain little reflection about unintended consequences – or about whether the danger to the United States is great enough to justify the risks to American troops and foreign civilians.

The end of the unipolar moment means mistakes like these will be far more costly. 

It’s up to us, the next generation of leaders, to chart a new, more careful path, shaped by humility, realism, and prudence and defined by self-restraint, diplomacy, deterrence, and peace. Together, we can work toward a brighter future, one in which American ideals spread by the power of our example, not the force of our arms, and in which American decisionmakers enjoy the fruits of a robust and well-informed foreign-policy debate.

The John Quincy Adams Society is an independent, nonpartisan, national organization that aims to identify and educate the next generation of foreign policy leaders, to network them with one another and with leading figures in our field, and to empower them to advance in their careers. We build communities of professionals who share our vision. We build chapters on university campuses, reaching both undergraduate and graduate students. Our chapters serve as centers for learning and debate that challenges the national security status quo. They’re a place where people grow in their knowledge of U.S. foreign policy and the big issues that shape our security. Chapters host exciting activities like guest speakers, crisis simulations, documentary screenings, and discussions of current international events. And chapter officers gain valuable leadership and organizing experience, benefiting from professional guidance and leadership training. People have come out of our campus chapters to work in a variety of exciting foreign policy jobs. 

Members learn about opportunities to get jobs and internships in the foreign policy arena, developing connections and skills that can accelerate their careers. And they join a national network of students on more than forty campuses that share their desire to serve the public good via a high impact foreign policy career.

Some of the Society’s recent successes:

  • Our Strategic Leaders Fellowship took eleven midcareer U.S. foreign policy professionals on a trip to Finland and Estonia, where we learned about important regional security issues and strategic trends.
  • Our University of Minnesota chapter hosted a panel with two veterans of the U.S. Foreign Service speaking about career possibilities.
  • Our University of Notre Dame chapter hosted a lecture on the war in Ukraine with a top expert on the Russian military.
  • Our Marcellus Policy Fellows gave final presentations of their analyses on key foreign policy issues. 
  • Our University of Florida chapter hosted a lecture by the former top Russia analyst at the CIA. 
  • Our summer conference in Washington, DC drew 75 students for two days of learning, professional development, and conversation.
  • Our George Washington University chapter hosted a discussion with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Stephen Wertheim on progressive grand strategy.
  • Our Seton Hall University chapter hosted a discussion with a top expert on nuclear security in East Asia.
  • Our Texas Tech and Texas A&M chapters had reading groups on Stephen Walt’s The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy.
  • Our Colorado College chapter spoke with a former human rights and national security campaigner for a prominent national organization about public-interest advocacy careers.
  • Our Morgenthau Grand Strategy Seminar, conducted in conjunction with the Notre Dame International Security Center, brought 45 participants to Washington to learn about U.S. grand strategy in a two-day seminar.

You can bring opportunities like this to your campus. Apply below to create a chapter. (Click here if the form doesn’t load.) Faculty members who would like a chapter on their campus should email the Society’s executive director, John Gay, at