Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy is a multidisciplinary research center whose events bring thought-provoking speakers to campus to explore topics in the sciences, the humanities, politics and more.

Our programs are designed to generate new ideas, to expand public understanding of important issues and, ultimately, to help the public and its leaders make better decisions. Working with students and faculty, we don't just study the world, we try to change it.

The Pell Center is animated by Sen. Claiborne Pell's belief that politics is about translating ideas into action to help people. We work to supplement the education available to Salve Regina students by fostering civic participation to make the world a better place.

Sen. Claiborne Pell’s Legacy

Sen. Claiborne de Borda Pell had one of the longest and most distinguished careers in the history of the U.S. Senate. Beginning in 1960, he was elected to six terms representing his home state of Rhode Island. During Pell's years of service, he made historic contributions in international relations, higher education, environmental protection and global resource preservation, and government support of the arts, humanities, libraries and museums.

Pell is best known for the Pell Grant legislation that provides direct federal funds for low- and middle-income students seeking higher education. He authored major legislation increasing federal financial assistance to elementary and secondary schools and expanding federal education programs, and was the driving force behind the establishment of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Pell sponsored the High Speed Ground Transportation Act, which made vast improvements in rail travel and stimulated the creation of Amtrak. He was present at the inception of the United Nations in 1945 and remained committed to the U.N.'s founding principles: the international rule of law and basic human rights. A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 34 years, he served as its chair or ranking member for 17 years. Pell championed human rights and democracy and was a passionate advocate for persecuted people throughout the world.

Read Pell's full obituary from the New York Times.

Projects and Initiatives

Story in the Public Square

An effort to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter, the Story in the Public Square initiative is now a television and radio program available in Rhode Island and nationally on SiriusXM’s POTUS channel, featuring interviews with today’s best print, screen, music and other storytellers to discuss their stories’ impact on public understanding and policy.

Nuala Pell Leadership Program

Students in the Nuala Pell Leadership Program explore both the theory and practice of leadership in the public sector, learning from accomplished leaders from many industries to build leadership skills that can be used in the classroom and beyond.


Our cyber leadership project seeks to evaluate cyber-preparedness levels across our society and provide thought leadership, policy recommendations and in-depth research in the ever-expanding field of cybersecurity.

International Relations

Our project on global challenges examines difficult public issues including health care, education, criminal justice, disinformation and more. In understanding the global response to these issues, we may find lessons for American policy makers and, at minimum, deepen the understanding of our shared human experience.