“Dr. Kissinger’s passing is an opportunity to reflect on his monumental contributions to the study and practice of diplomacy. He was a scholar-statesman of profound historical significance, who remained deeply engaged world affairs until the very end.
It is hard to believe, but Dr. Kissinger visited Xi Jinping in Beijing this past July at 100-years-old. His most recent piece in Foreign Affairs was published just last month in October, warning of the dangers of artificial intelligence and the need for arms control with China—a strategic approach that featured prominently in the recent Biden-Xi summit in San Francisco. Dr. Kissinger’s insatiable intellectual curiosity seemed to be key to his longevity. How a centenarian could even grasp the technical challenges posed by AI, let alone contribute to significant policy debates, remains a mystery to me.
The donation of Dr. Kissinger’s papers to Yale, and the establishment of the Johnson Center for the Study of American Diplomacy, represented a watershed moment for Yale and for diplomatic history in general.
Dr. Kissinger always was eager to interact with our students, and he was inspired their boundless enthusiasm. He especially enjoyed the opportunity to engage with scholars, practitioners, and students whose views differed from his own. The Johnson Center’s annual conferences also helped inform Dr. Kissinger’s own scholarship, with books On China, World Order, The Age of AI, and Leadership benefiting from those sessions.
The Kissinger Papers continue to be invaluable resources for students and scholars alike. The archives represent an unparalleled opportunity to study all the many complexities and contradictions that characterize American diplomacy in the twentieth century. We are so grateful for the generosity of Charlie Johnson and Nick Brady for making these arrangements possible.”