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Robert J. Abernethy Professorship

Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies

Established in 2020 by Robert Abernethy, emeritus JHU trustee, SAIS Board of Advisors member and SAIS Europe Advisory Council member

ROBERT J. ABERNETHY is president of both the American Standard Development Company and the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, and managing director of Metropolitan Investments. Mr. Abernethy received a BA from Johns Hopkins University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, certificates in real estate and construction from UCLA and was formerly the controller of the technology division of Hughes Aircraft Company.

Mr. Abernethy is a member of the advisory council of the School of Advanced International Studies (Washington and Bologna) as well as a trustee of Johns Hopkins University, Davidson College, and Loyola Marymount University. He serves as vice chairman of the Atlantic Council and is on the executive board of the International Refugee Assistance Project. He is also a member of the Chairman’s Forum of CFR and the State Department Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy. Bob is a trustee for Brookings and serves on the boards of RAND Center for Global Risk & Security, the New Leaders Council, Truman National Security Project, Integrity Initiatives International, Los Angeles World Affairs Council as well as the Center for National Policy. Bob is also a member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Council with the Center for American Progress.

He serves on the UCLA arts board, the UCLA health systems board, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is also vice chairman of the Music Center of Los Angeles.

Mr. Abernethy served as commissioner of the California Transportation Commission, the Los Angeles Telecommunications Commission, and the Los Angeles Planning & Zoning Commission, and was director of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Metropolitan Water District. He was a member of the California State Board of Education and of the California Arts Council.

In 2020, Mr. Abernethy generously funded the endowment of a professorship bearing his name. The gift was matched by the Johns Hopkins Anonymous Donor Matching Fund for New Professorships. Based at SAIS Europe, the Robert J. Abernethy professor teaches, lectures, and participates in and advises academic research programs, and participates in intellectual collaboration addressing global affairs, in particular global developments in democratic institutions and constitutional studies. The chairholder convenes international scholars and disseminates insights into international affairs-related topics through publications, conferences, lectures, and short courses that enrich the academic experience for students at SAIS Europe. The Abernethy professorship was first held by professor Romano Prodi, former president of the European Commission (1999-2005) and former prime minister of Italy (1996-1998 and 2006-2008) for a two-year term.

Held by Justin O. Frosini

JUSTIN O. FROSINI is an associate professor of comparative public law at Luigi Bocconi University, Milan, and an adjunct professor of constitutional law at Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe. He is also the director of the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development in Bologna, Italy. Dr. Frosini is the co-coordinator of a research group of the International Association of Constitutional Law devoted to constitutionalism in illiberal democracies, and is a member of the advisory board of the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Constitutional Law published by Oxford University Press. Dr. Frosini has been a visiting professor at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico and at the University of Victoria, BC, Canada where, in 2010, he was awarded the European Union Centre of Excellence Visiting Scholar Grant. Since 2003 he has been the co-director of the Europe Union and Legal Reform Summer School held every July in Igalo, Montenegro. Dr. Frosini was also a member of a group of seven international scholars conducting case studies for a five-year project on constitutional design and conflict management in Africa funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. He received his PhD in constitutional law from the University of Bologna.

Dr. Frosini is the author of a book on the legal value of constitutional preambles for which he received the Excellency in Research Prize from Bocconi University in 2013. He has published extensively in English and Italian in the field of comparative constitutional law with particular attention to federalism, regionalism and devolution, Brexit and the European Union, constitutional justice and forms of government. Dr. Frosini is a regular media commentator and writes a trimonthly report on constitutional matters in the United Kingdom for Quaderni costituzionali, one of Italy’s leading constitutional law journals.