While the study of terrorism and national security remains one of the continuing interests of the Nelson Institute, its focus has also grown to include other areas that not only affect this global challenge, but also impact the overall strategic position of the United States and other responsible members of the international community, including Africa, religion and global politics, and international ethics and justice.

Since 2004, the Nelson Institute—which recently changed its designation to be a center “for International and Public Affairs” to better reflect its broader scope—has been a part of the Center for Liberal and Applied Social Sciences (CLASS), a newly created academic unit within JMU’s College of Arts and Letters established encourage and sustain faculty innovation in interdisciplinary education. However, the Institute collaborates with all colleges, schools, and other academic units of the university as well as, with the support and encouragement of Dr. Linwood H. Rose, President of James Madison University, outside institutions that share its educational and philosophical goals.