Our Strategy

MacArthur’s goals in the area of international peace and security grantmaking are to prevent nuclear terrorism and strengthen stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

The program is led by Emma Belcher, Director, and John Fei, Program Officer, International Peace and Security.

Nuclear Security

In this element of our work the Foundation focuses on preventing nuclear terrorism by denying terrorist access to the fissile materials (highly enriched uranium and plutonium) that are the key ingredients for nuclear weapons. As nuclear power becomes an important means of diversifying energy portfolios and reducing carbon emissions, fissile material stockpiles are set to grow, raising the risk of theft or diversion.

We view nuclear power as a potentially valuable element of the response to climate change, so we seek to incorporate approaches into U.S. nuclear policy and the global nuclear fuel cycle that prevent access to fissile materials. Ultimately, we seek technical and political solutions to end the world's reliance on weapon-usable material (highly enriched uranium and plutonium).

We also seek to ensure that as policymakers review nuclear energy safety standards in the wake of the Fukushima accident, they do not unintentionally undermine critical security objectives and increase the risk of proliferation.

In addition, we seek to effectively address, in a stabilizing manner, the strategic implications of deeper reductions in nuclear arsenals. We also support work that will spur new insights and approaches to security challenges arising from national efforts to acquire nuclear weapons (e.g. Iran and North Korea).

Advanced Education

Effective policymaking on nuclear security matters requires the best advice from diverse fields, including the natural and social sciences, industry, and policy world, among others. It also entails public debate, which takes different forms in different countries but is rarely altogether absent. As a result, policymakers and the public need advice from experts capable of using their specialized expertise to inform policy decision-making and debates.

Because academic training does not normally build the skills needed to conduct effective policy analysis and because the study and practice of business and public policy do not normally entail specialized training, an interdisciplinary approach is necessary to develop the expertise and skills for nuclear security policy analysis.

The Foundation supports a small group of grantees that provide advanced interdisciplinary training in the field of nuclear security at the graduate and post-doctoral levels. The goal of this program is to produce a small, but highly qualified, international group of nuclear security policy experts equipped to lead the future formulation of nuclear security policies and engage effectively in the public debate.

MacArthur does not consider unsolicited proposals in the area of Advanced Education in Nuclear Security.

Asia Security Initiative

In recognition that the transformation of Asia is one of the most consequential events in geopolitics, we launched our Asia Security Initiative (ASI) in 2009. ASI has sought to help foster effective policy responses to security challenges in the Asian region. We believe that informed ideas and advice, framed and delivered effectively, can help mitigate the risk of conflict, and enhance security and prosperity in Asia.

Our current approach supports policy research projects on Asia that will address opportunities for enhanced security in the region, and assess critical challenges in an effort to prevent destabilizing policy outcomes. We encourage collaborations among Asian, and between U.S. and Asian, institutions. We are particularly interested in the following themes:

• Rising powers in Asia, particularly China and India – and the role of others, particularly Japan and the Republic of Korea.

• U.S. role in the region, including rebalance and extended deterrence as well as Asian perceptions of, and reactions to, evolving U.S. policies in the region.

• Geostrategic relationships, particularly U.S.-China, China-India, India-Pakistan, China-Pakistan

• Leadership transitions/generational changes in Asia and implications for security

• Territorial disputes and maritime tensions

• Impact of resource competition on stability in the region


For more information on MacArthur's grantmaking in international peace and security, view the grantmaking guidelines or the Enhancing Nuclear Security info sheet.

Updated May 2014


Portrait of Stephanie Platz

Stephanie Platz

Interim Managing Director, International Programs
Portrait of Emma Belcher

Emma Belcher

Director, International Peace and Security
Portrait of John Fei

John Fei

Program Officer
Portrait of Elsa Gutierrez

Elsa Gutierrez

Program Administrator

Renee Munro

Executive Secretary

Rossi M. Polenica

Program Assistant