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Founded in 1956 as an alumni letter for The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) that included topical articles, The SAIS Review of International Affairs became a full-fledged academic journal in 1981. Today, in addition to featuring full length essays, the journal has expanded to include interviews, book reviews,  and photo essays.  Policymakers such as Madeleine Albright, George H.W. Bush, Al Gore, Richard Holbrooke, and Paul H. Nitze and scholars such as Hernando de Soto,  Max Corden, Olivier Roy, and Piero Gleijeses have appeared in the journal.

Graduate students of SAIS from diverse backgrounds and major concentrations have run the journal since 1981. The journal has been recognized as one of the leading publications of foreign affairs.

The SAIS Review of International Affairs is published and distributed twice a year by The Johns Hopkins University Press as part of Project Muse.