Mission and history

Mission

The United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney is a university-based research centre, dedicated to the rigorous analysis of American foreign policy, economics, politics and culture. The Centre is a national resource, that builds Australia’s awareness of the dynamics shaping America — and critically — their implications for Australia.

We do this by teaching students, conducting research and bridging the gap between academic ideas and public policy problems from an Australia-US comparative standpoint.

I warmly endorse the work of the United States Studies Centre because it is so very heavily committed to a cause in which I very strongly believe and that is the intimate, shared-values based relationship between Australia and the United States.
— John Howard OM AC, former Prime Minister of Australia

History

In 2006, Australian Prime Minister John Howard AC announced a $25 million endowment to establish a United States Studies Centre at a major Australian university. With the University of Sydney selected as host and the American Australian Association administering the endowment, the Centre was opened in 2007, admitting its first students in 2008.

Since its establishment, the Centre’s unparalleled education programs have been at the core of its success. Offering an undergraduate major and honours in American Studies, and postgraduate degrees in US Studies, the Centre has taught thousands of students. The Centre’s innovative study abroad and internship programs have given our students invaluable experience living and working overseas, fostering lifetime connections and a practical knowledge of the United States.

I thank [the Centre for its] steadfast commitment to the US-Australia partnership. It is a partnership that is, of itself, of importance to each of us, but it’s also a partnership that must remain at the core of the kind of engagement we have in the Asia-Pacific and Indo-Pacific regions for now and for the future.
— Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State

The Centre is the undisputed leader of Australian and Asian-Pacific insight into the United States. Encouraging broad public debate and discussion, the Centre has hosted a wide array of Australian and international guests, from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden to foreign policy analyst Anne Marie Slaughter. Former Australian prime ministers Bob Hawke AC, Paul Keating and John Howard AC have all spoken at the Centre, along with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Our experts are sought by the Australian and international media for their analysis of the United States, regularly publishing and appearing in outlets such as The New York Times, Financial Times, CNN, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and ABC Australia.

The Centre’s academics contribute scholarly debate and discussion on a full range of US issues, authoring books and journal articles, as well as presenting at prestigious academic conferences and completing international fellowships.

The alliance will remain the touchstone of our relationship and I trust that the work of Alliance 21 project and the US Studies Centre will play a continuing and important role in ensuring that this remains a dynamic and vibrant partnership.
— Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Centre’s research programs provide high quality analysis and distinct perspectives on trends shaping the national interests of the United States and Australia.

The Foreign Policy and Defence program examines the historically strong Australia-US relationship. The program commenced in 2011 and continues to analyse the threats and opportunities in the relationship, and provide policy analysis and advice for decision makers.

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship program commenced in 2017 and focuses on understanding the United States as an innovation leader with a view to developing insight for the benefit of New South Wales and Australia.

Launched in 2018, the Trade and Investment program examines trends, challenges and opportunities in the trade and investment relationship between Australia and the United States.

The Perth USAsia Centre

The Perth USAsia Centre located at the University of Western Australia is the USSC's sister institution. Its mission is to strengthen relationships and strategic thinking between Australia, the Indo-Pacific and the United States.

Since 2016, the United States Studies Centre and the Perth US Asia Centre have collaborated to survey public opinion on the power and influence of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region.

USSC Annual Reports