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Alvin H. Bernstein Memorial Lecture

Alvin Bernstein, a distinguished ancient historian and lecturer at Johns Hopkins SAIS who served in positions of high responsibility in the U.S. Department of Defense, was an exceptional educator in the civilian academic world (Yale and Cornell) and in the United States government (the U.S. Naval War College, National Defense University, and the George C. Marshall Center for European Security Studies).  In keeping with his example and his interests, the annual Alvin H. Bernstein Memorial Lecture has as its organizing theme the intersection of history and national security policy.  

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Conference on Civil-Military Relations

The Merrill Center's annual Conference on Civil-Military Relations is co-hosted with Duke University's Program in American Grand Strategy and supported by the America in the World Consortium. The 2020 conference, Reflections on Civil-Military Relations: Crises, Comparisons, and Paradoxes, presented various dimensions of current debates; engaged the audience on questions of who should serve in U.S. defense and national security; and raised questions of ethics and morals in military and civilian command. The conference concluded with a performance of Sophocles' Philoctetes by Theater of War Productions and a podcast recording with War on the Rocks. 

Watch the 2019 Conference

Watch the 2020 Conference

Listen to the Podcast


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Strategic Studies Speaker Series

The Merrill Center invites experts from academia, government, the military, journalism, business, and non-governmental organizations to speak at Johns Hopkins SAIS on a range of current and historical topics.


You Were There

In the 1940s and 1950s, radio and television programs like "You Are There," "Hear it Now," and "See it Now," sought to harness the journalistic immediacy of narration by Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite while educating the broader public about historical events. The You Were There Lecture Series seeks, on a smaller scale, to do the same for Strategic Studies students. The series brings policymakers involved in key national security decisions to Johns Hopkins SAIS to discuss the events they have witnessed and teach students about decision-making in times of crisis.