The Pickering Program is a State Department Program administered from the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University. The Center was established in 1993 to serve as a focal point for the University’s many and varied international activities and interests. The Center was built with substantial financial support by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which made the Center one of only 10 Kellogg-supported Centers of Excellence in the United States. In 1996, with United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and members of the Bunche family in attendance, the Center, was re-christened The Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center. Ralph J. Bunche was an American political scientist, academic, and diplomat who received the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his late 1940s mediation in Israel. He was the first African American to be so honored in the history of the prize.
The mission of the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center is to make available and to ensure the Center’s long-term capacity to make available to Howard University students, faculty and senior administrators, as well as certain constituencies beyond the University, valuable international affairs support, services, information and opportunities. In so doing, the Center helps Howard University produce for America and the global community a never-ending stream of valuable international affairs knowledge, ideas and, especially, individuals fully prepared to make positive contributions to national and international society.
The Bunche Center serves as:
- The point of contact for a range of inquiries from entities outside the University; foreign embassies, foreign and U.S. government agencies, universities, corporations, and private individuals.
- The site for conferences and meetings exploring different aspects of international affairs, including one of the founding gatherings of the White House Initiative on South Africa.
- The home of the Patricia Roberts Harris Public Affairs Program, which honors one of the University’s most notable graduates with a celebrated annual lecture, internships, and distinguished visitors.
- A resource devoted to mentoring Howard University students interested in international affairs, including serving as the home of Howard University’s Study Abroad Program and the U.S. Department of State Diplomat in Residence.
- The home of the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program and the Donald M. Payne International Development Program, initiatives that promote the involvement of young people in careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development.