The Rothermere American Institute was created in 2001 as a department of the University of Oxford. Its mission is to promote within and beyond Oxford ‘greater public and academic understanding of the history, culture and politics of the United States’.
Housed in an award-winning, modern building, the RAI has become the foremost academic institution beyond America’s shores for teaching and research in US history, politics, international relations, foreign policy, literature, and culture.
Every year, it hosts more than 200 seminars, workshops, conferences and lectures which attract leading scholars, students, policy-makers and public figures from across the world to study the United States.
‘Where has America come from and where does it find itself? What is it doing, and what ought it to do in the world?’ President Clinton posed these questions at the Institute’s opening. Today, they remain at the heart of the RAI’s mission.
Viewing the United States from an external but sympathetic angle gives the RAI an important and unique perspective. Students and scholars at the Institute set US experience, practice and policy in comparative contexts with other nations in the Atlantic area and beyond. It is an external perspective that US institutions necessarily lack.
The Institute draws on the resources of Oxford University’s other departments and faculties, and on research institutes, politicians, civil servants, independent experts, authors and journalists, in Great Britain and abroad.
Promoting greater public understanding of the United States and its history, culture and politics is also at the heart of the RAI’s mission. As part of this commitment, we welcome school students to study in the Vere Harmsworth Library or to participate in special events at the Institute.