International search begins for director of JHU's Agora Institute

Interdisciplinary effort to focus on restoring the open and inclusive dialogue needed to sustain healthy democracies

Johns Hopkins University is launching an international search for a director to lead the new Agora Institute, conceived by Johns Hopkins and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to restore the open and inclusive dialogue needed to sustain healthy democracies.

Supported by a $150 million gift from the foundation to the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the Agora Institute is designed to be a leading academic and public forum that harnesses cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines—among them political science, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, ethics, sociology, and history—to identify, design, and test new mechanisms for strengthening civic engagement worldwide.

When the Agora Institute's formation was announced in June, university leaders said that the institute will build a core faculty of 10 and additionally will welcome 10 distinguished visiting scholars each year to participate in research and other activities. It will engage graduate and undergraduate students in its work and will sponsor annual public events in Baltimore and in Athens, Greece.

Faculty, students, and staff are encouraged to share their thoughts and confidential nominations with the search committee, which is being co-chaired by Sunil Kumar, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and Beverly Wendland, dean of the Krieger School, and facilitated by executive search firm Opus Partners.

"We are seeking an outstanding scholar and leader with a record of engaging competing viewpoints and a proven ability to forge interdisciplinary pathways for research and education," the co-chairs said in an email message sent to the university community. "The director will work with university faculty and leadership to build the Agora Institute's faculty, shape its programs, and establish the institute as a premier locus for analysis, experimentation, and dialogue around civic discourse."

More information about the search is on the Krieger School website.

The committee can be contacted via email at

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