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About AEI

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, and social welfare. Founded in 1943, AEI is home to some of America’s most accomplished public policy experts–from economics, law, political science, defense and foreign policy studies, ethics, theology, health care, and other fields. The Institute sponsors research and conferences and publishes books, monographs, and periodicals. Its website, www.aei.org, posts its publications, videos and transcripts of its conferences, biographies of its scholars and fellows, and schedules of upcoming events.

The Institute’s community of scholars is committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise. AEI pursues these unchanging ideals through independent thinking, open debate, reasoned argument, and the highest standards of research and exposition. AEI’s purpose is to serve leaders and the public through research and education on the most important issues of the day in the areas of economics, culture, politics, foreign affairs, and national defense. Without regard for political ideology, party, or prevailing fashion, AEI dedicates its work to improving society and government, toward the goal of a more prosperous, safer, and more democratic nation and world. AEI’s work is addressed to government officials and legislators, teachers and students, business executives, professionals, journalists, and all citizens interested in a serious understanding of government policy, the economy, and important social and political developments.

AEI research is conducted through six primary research divisions: Economic Policy StudiesForeign and Defense Policy StudiesHealth Policy StudiesLegal and Constitutional StudiesPolitical and Public Opinion Studies, and Social and Cultural Studies. It also works through several specialized programs such as the Brady Program on Culture and Freedom, the AEI Center for Regulatory and Market Studies, the National Research Initiative (which sponsors research by university-based scholars), the AEI Press, and The American magazine.

Approximately 175 people work at AEI’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.–its research faculty of resident and visiting scholars and fellows; research and administrative assistants; editorial, publication, conference, and dining room staffs; and a management team responsible for internal operations and external relations, fund-raising, and disseminating and marketing the Institute’s output. In addition, about 50 adjunct scholars and fellows, mainly at research universities around the United States, conduct research for AEI and participate in its conferences. AEI operates a large student internship program for college undergraduates throughout the year and offers a select number of graduate and post-graduate fellowships.

AEI’s operations are financed by donations from corporations, foundations, and individuals and by investment earnings from an internal endowment. The Institute does not perform contract research and, with rare exceptions, does not accept government grants. Its research agenda is determined by its president in consultation with its trustees, scholars and fellows, and academic advisers; the substance and conclusions of its research and publications are determined by the individuals conducting the research.

AEI’s Board of Trustees governs the Institute’s management and finances. The Board selects AEI’s president; establishes its policies, procedures, and operating strategies; adopts its annual budget; reviews and advises on its research agenda and research and administrative appointments; and protects its intellectual independence and financial integrity. The Board meets four times annually; Board committees–an Executive Committee, Audit Committee, Development Committee, Finance Committee, Investments Committee, Nominating and Governance Committee–meet at intervals between Board meetings and provide reports and recommendations to the full Board.

AEI’s president is responsible for setting the Institute’s research agenda, selecting its research faculty and administrative staff, approving its publications, managing its operations, ensuring the integrity and quality of its work, and representing the Institute to all of its various audiences. A team of officers, managers, and staff assists the president in these responsibilities.

AEI’s Council of Academic Advisers advises the president and the Board of Trustees regarding the Institute’s research appointments and research agenda and the quality of its publications and other output, and selects the recipient of its highest annual honor, the Irving Kristol Award.

AEI’s scholars and fellows are responsible for conducting research and writing on subjects of their individual knowledge and interest, disseminating the results of their research through publications and presentations at AEI and elsewhere, organizing and participating in AEI conferences, counseling and collaborating with AEI colleagues on subjects of mutual interest, and identifying and commissioning research and writing by individuals at other research institutions.

In all of these endeavors, AEI trustees, scholars and fellows, and officers and staff are responsible for maintaining the highest standards of integrity, intellectual rigor, and excellence–and for sustaining AEI’s founding commitment to open inquiry, lucid exposition, vigorous debate, and continuous improvement in the institutions of American liberty.

To learn more about AEI, visit our website.