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’ve been at war for eighteen years and counting. A heavy reliance on military intervention over diplomacy and deterrence has led to disaster in places like Iraq and Libya. Yet there has been little serious reflection in Washington on whether our nation’s strategy is too assertive. 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.

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 a 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 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. Chapters host exciting activities like guest speakers, documentary screenings, and discussions of current international events. And chapter officers gain valuable leadership and organizing experience, benefiting from professional guidance and leadership training.

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 University of Southern California chapter hosted a talk by John Mearsheimer on his then-unreleased book on liberalism and nationalism as forces in the international system.
  • Members of our network landed jobs and internships at the Department of Defense, the State Department, the Intelligence Community, and major think tanks.
  • Our William & Mary chapter co-hosted a massive debate on U.S. grand strategy.
  • Penn State hosted a lecture on U.S. strategy in the Middle East by veteran CIA analyst Paul Pillar.
  • Several leaders attended a Washington gala featuring a speech by the Secretary of Defense.
  • Our professional network has held monthly gatherings in Washington to hear from up-and-coming new voices, build professional connections, and discuss thought-provoking readings.
  • We’ve built a network that extends to more than forty campuses.
  • Our second annual Student Leadership Conference took place in Washington, D.C. Participants experienced a live podcast taping, briefings on Capitol Hill, an intensive seminar with two well-known international security scholars, training on effective chapter leadership, and networking with current foreign policy professionals.
  • The National Interest published the winners of our annual Student Foreign Policy Essay Contest.

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