The Institute of International Studies was founded in 1961 by Dr. Richard Walker, a noted East Asia expert, prolific scholar, adviser to many government agencies, and Ambassador to South Korea from 1981-1986. After his death in 2003 the Institute of International Studies was named in his honor.
Over the past 50 years, the Walker Institute has organized numerous international conferences and events with influential policy-makers from all over the world. Today, the Walker Institute is the principal unit in the University of South Carolina for promoting research, scholarship, and public service programs in international affairs and the comparative cross-cultural study of human societies.
The Institute works in cooperation with faculty and research units in various colleges and departments of the university to facilitate research on international public policy issues. It provides consultative and training services and undertakes special research projects for governmental and nongovernmental organizations, foundations, and public sector agencies.