The Hollings Center for International Dialogue is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to fostering dialogue between the United States and countries with predominantly Muslim populations.
Who we are is largely the construct of the unique history that made the Hollings Center a reality. The conception of the Hollings Center emerged from two primary objectives. First was the need for an organization focused on opening and reinforcing networks and connections between the US and the predominantly Muslim world, particularly in the post-9/11 environment. Second was a strong desire to preserve the Palazzo Corpi, the historic former U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, Türkiye.
The U.S. Congress established the Hollings Center as a non-governmental organization by the U.S. Congress in 2004. Specifically, Congress called on the Center to “develop programs of cooperative study, training and research for students and scholars to exchange views and ideas” between the United States and the Muslim world. The Council of American Overseas Research Centers formed a steering committee to found the Center in late 2004. Programming began in May 2005.
Officially named the International Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue, the Center is more commonly known as the Hollings Center, in recognition of Senator Fritz Hollings (SC), whose efforts were crucial to its foundation. Senator Hollings retired in 2005 having achieved a notable 39-year career in the U.S. Senate.
The Hollings Center is registered as a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization in the United States and as a foreign non-profit organization in Türkiye. It maintains offices in Istanbul and Washington, D.C.
The Palazzo Corpi
Congress specifically designated that the Center would occupy the Palazzo Corpi. Located in Istanbul’s historic Beyoğlu neighborhood, the Palazzo Corpi housed the official U.S presence in Istanbul until 2003.
The Palazzo Corpi remains one of the oldest diplomatic properties owned by the American people. It served as a center for diplomacy and dialogue for over a century. And, the Hollings Center was created in part to ensure that the historic Palazzo would remain part of the United States’ international heritage.
In pursuit of this mission, the Hollings Center convenes multiple programs that generate new thinking on important international issues. These programs deepen channels of communication across opinion leaders and experts. Since starting operations in 2005, the Center has hosted dozens of dialogue conferences with representatives from around the globe. To amplify the outcomes of these dialogues, the Center created additional programs, including small grants, public events, videos, podcasts, and networking events.
We would not be who we are without the participants and staff that make the Center’s programs possible. In over 60 dialogue conferences since 2005, the Center has hosted over 1,300 participants. Participants have represented over 65 countries and 38 U.S. states and territories.
Hollings Center dialogues take a unique approach by convening a diverse mix of academics, journalists, civil society leaders, business people and government officials. This provides unique perspective and insight to important challenges.
With its follow-on programs, the Center has amplified the impact of dialogue programs significantly.