The Tower Center is actively engaged in a number of research projects involving faculty and experts from SMU, as well as other universities and institutes in the United States and abroad.

The purpose of this research is to provide a deeper understanding of the complexity of the issues in international affairs with the expectation that a more sophisticated understanding will lead to comprehensive, sustainable policies.  The research conducted within the Center is part of its mission to bridge the gap between the worlds of policy and academia, and help move policy debate from Capitol Hill into the heartland of America.  The Tower Center’s multi-disciplinary approach to research brings expertise and tools from political science, history, economics, business, cultural studies and other fields to bear on the most important issues of the day.  Students are part of the Tower Center research teams and participate in all aspects of the intellectual life of the Center.  The core mission of the Tower Center is to engage students in public service as well as provide them with the tools for success.  Scholarship provides students with analytical abilities, intellectual sophistication, and deep knowledge of specific areas necessary for careers in many fields.

US-Mexico Research Project

The Tower Center is dedicated to the premise that the US-Mexico relationship is of vital political and economic significance for the United States, which is why it strongly collaborates with its sister center, the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center.

The Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center is dedicated to improving relations between Texas and Mexico through dialogue and research. It works to encourage greater cross-border integration and cross-sector collaboration in academia, government, NGOs and business. Through its research, it seeks to produce actionable ideas and policy recommendations that address current issues that impact the bilateral relationship the most, especially in trade and economy, energy, migration, border issues and education, human capital and development.  

Security and Strategy Program (SAS@SMU)

The Security and Strategy Program at the Tower Center serves to raise student and public awareness of national and international security affairs. Our principal mission is to prepare SMU undergraduates to become leaders in government service, academia, and industry. We offer a rigorous and demanding set of courses on international relations, national security policy, strategy, American foreign policy, and the politics of military force. The Tower Center also gives students the opportunity to interact with policymakers, military officers, intelligence officials, and diplomats.  

The United States has become increasingly active in regional conflicts since the end of the Cold War, and it invests enormous resources into projecting American power abroad. SAS@SMU encourages a vigorous debate on this investment. Along with the annual Tower Center National Security Conference, we organize regular forums and seminars that give the public the chance to converse with leading scholars about cutting edge research in security studies, as well as with government officials and defense industry executives. 

Click here to visit the SAS@SMU Program webpage.

East Asia Research Project

A number of Tower Center affiliated faculty are studying the domestic political and economic affairs of Asian countries, relations among those countries, and the interaction of Asian nations with countries in other regions.  The synergy of faculty from different disciplines coming together to focus on their common interest in Asia has resulted in several major research projects and publications that investigate the critical aspects of economic, national defense policies, culture in the region.

Click here to visit the Sun & Star Japan and East Asia Program webpage.

Latino Center for Leadership and Development Research Partnership

Latino Public Policy is a strategic research partnership between the Latino Center for Leadership Development and the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies. America is in the midst of a fundamental, Latino-driven, demographic shift. Latinos will represent more than 30 percent of the U.S. population by 2050 and will represent 70 percent of the workforce growth between 2010 and 2020. This partnership aims to increase the study of public policy issues that are faced by Latino communities within the U.S. and to generate thoughtful solutions. 

Click here to visit the Latino Public Policy webpage.

Jno. E. Owens Memorial Foundation Research Project

The Jno. E. Owens Memorial Foundation was established in 1953 by Mrs. Owens in memory of her husband, a prominent Texas banker. During his lifetime, Mr. Owens was intensely interested in international economics, and it was his wish to establish a foundation that would memorialize his lifelong interest in international relations. The broad objective of the Jno. E. Owens Memorial Lectureship Series is to enlarge public understanding of international economic forces in the philosophical context of free trade. 

Read more about the Jno. E. Owens Memorial Foundation here.

View the list of Committee members here.

Past conferences: