CWIHP Receives Major Grant from Leon Levy Foundation

Grant to support digitization and publication of major archive

Jun 01, 2010

WASHINGTON—The Woodrow Wilson Center is pleased to announce a three-year, $415,000 grant from the Leon Levy Foundation to support the Center's Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) and the digitization and publication of the CWIHP's massive document collection through a state-of-the-art Digital Archive. The gift was made in honor of Lee H. Hamilton, who recently announced his plans to retire from the Wilson Center after serving as its president and director since 1999. "We are tremendously grateful to the Leon Levy Foundation for their financial support," Hamilton said, "and for recognizing the importance and value of preserving this historic collection."

Elizabeth B. Moynihan, Trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation and widow of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, said, "Pat regarded the Cold War International History Project as critically important to the study of the 20th Century. With access to this resource, scholars and policy-makers around the world will have a better understanding of the crises and conflicts of that era. We hope this increased knowledge will encourage dialogue in the future and help avert the ideological conflicts of the past century."

Hamilton, a former Congressman from Indiana, and Senator Moynihan both served on the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy in the 1990s. They also both held leadership positions on their respective Permanent Select Committees on Intelligence and shared an interest in foreign affairs and history. The Senator, who helped found the Wilson Center in the 1960s and served as its board vice chairman, was a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center from his Senate retirement in 2001 until his death in 2003.

Over the past two decades, CWIHP has amassed a vast collection of primary source documents on the Cold War era from the once-secret archives of former Communist bloc countries. These documents from Russia, East Europe, and more recently China, brought to light by the Project have fundamentally changed scholarly views of the Cold War and comprise a unique historical resource. The CWIHP collection is a high-grade representative sample of the Cold War relevant holdings of more than two dozen archives around the world - including the Russian, Albanian, Mongolian, Vietnamese, and Azeri or Georgian archives. The collection is not only unique due to the massive and global research effort that went into developing it; it also contains documents that are no longer available in their original format, either because they have been lost or "reclassified."

The Cold War International History Project (now part of the Center's History and Public Policy Program) has become internationally recognized as the leading scholarly organization exploiting new and emerging opportunities for research in the previously inaccessible archives of the former or still communist world. Through multifaceted activities, CWIHP has created a global network of individuals, institutions, and projects from both East and West dedicated to the collegial, collaborative, coordinated exploration of new sources and opportunities for understanding the international history of the Cold War.

The CWIHP Digital Archive will not only help preserve a unique collection and advance historical scholarship and public policy debate, but also make the documents more easily accessible to the rising generation of high school and college students. The documents will allow future generations of American students, who do not have firsthand experience of the Cold War, to be a "fly-on-the-wall" during many of the key crises and decisions during the conflict. The Leon Levy Foundation's grant will thus also create a premier teaching resource.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is the national, living memorial honoring President Woodrow Wilson. In providing an essential link between the worlds of ideas and public policy, the Center addresses current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world. The Center promotes policy-relevant research and dialogue to increase understanding and enhance the capabilities and knowledge of leaders, citizens, and institutions worldwide. Created by an Act of Congress in 1968, the Center is a non-partisan institution headquartered in Washington, D.C. and supported by both public and private funds.

About the Leon Levy Foundation

The Leon Levy Foundation, founded in 2004, is a private, not-for-profit foundation created from the estate of Leon Levy, an investor with a longstanding commitment to philanthropy. The Foundation's overarching goal is to support scholarship at the highest level, ultimately advancing knowledge and improving the lives of individuals and society at large.

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