How much influence do U.S. presidents really have? In the latest Research in World open lecture, Professor Joseph Nye, former US Assistant Secretary of Defense, will explore the influence of individual American presidents on global politics.

In the lecture - Presidents and American Foreign Policy - Professor Nye will examine whether trends in global politics are simply the result of large impersonal structural forces or whether the leader in charge makes the difference.

During his lecture he will pose the question: would America have become the dominant country in the 20th century regardless of who was president?

“Leadership theorists focus their attention on what they call transformational leaders, but were ‘transformational’ leaders like Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan really more important than ‘transactional’ leaders like Eisenhower and the first Bush? What are the lessons we can draw for leadership and foreign policy in this century?" said Professor Nye.

Professor Joseph Nye is a University Distinguished Service Professor and former Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. During his career he has been a deputy Undersecretary of State and chaired the National Security Council Group on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In 1993-94 he chaired the National Intelligence Council which prepares intelligence estimates for the president, and in 1994-95 served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. He won Distinguished Service medals from all three agencies.

The free lecture takes place on 30th April 2013 at 18.15 and, due to substantial demand, will be in the East Building lecture theatre on the Claverton campus.

The lecture is part of the University’s Research in the World lecture series. Free parking is available in the West Car Park after 5pm.