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Teaching about North America

The John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies offers students an excellent academic education with a specialization on the United States and Canada. Courses and programs are offered in six disciplines: culture, literature, history, politics, sociology, and economics.

News from May 11, 2015

The John F. Kennedy Institute (JFKI) is one of three central institutes at Freie Universität. It was founded in 1963 by the political scientist Ernst Fraenkel with the aim of providing academic expertise on North America. The six different departments of the institute are simultaneously integrated into the departments of their respective disciplines. In addition to subject-specific seminars, the institute also offers courses devoted to regional issues that are addressed from transdisciplinary perspectives.

The JFKI offers both a bachelor's and a master's degree in North American studies. The seminars are held in German or English. With the support of various foundations and organizations such as the Fulbright Commission, the Thyssen Foundation, the Air Lift Gratitude Foundation, the Einstein Foundation, or the Terra Foundation, the institute regularly invites American and Canadian visiting professors to Berlin-Dahlem to enrich the curriculum.

The library of the John F. Kennedy Institute, with roughly 790,000 media units, is the largest library in Europe that is specialized in North American studies. The numerous scholarships and exchange programs offered at the institute afford students and graduates excellent conditions to prepare for a professional career in the public or private sector of the economy.

In 2006, as part of the German national Excellence Initiative, the John F. Kennedy Institute set up the Graduate School for North American Studies. In 2012 the graduate school was approved for continued funding within the German Excellence Initiative. Its doctoral program focuses on the comprehensive and interdisciplinary study of the social, economic, and cultural change in North American societies at the beginning of the 21th century. The program offers theoretically and methodically sound training in the areas of cultural and literary studies, history, political science, sociology, and economics.

The John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies is one of four central institutes at Freie Universität Berlin: