James J. Townsend Jr. ‘75

When asked what word comes to mind when he reflects on his St. Johns experience, Jim Townsend ‘75 says nurturing. Jim remembers a safe place that was not exposed to social pressures. A place where a student can try anything without the fear of failure. A place where specific clubs, like the debate club, taught him how to be bold and confident, and those skills stayed with him when he debriefed former Presidents and Secretaries of Defense. 

After graduation, Jim headed to Duke University where he majored in political science before going on to earn his masters of arts from the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in international economics and american foreign policy.

After 34 years of working in defense and foreign policy, his work has spanned from the Cold War, post-Cold War political reconstruction in Europe to Europe’s new challenges including Russia and terrorism. Jim is now an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security where he is a co-host for the podcast “Brussels Sprouts,” and writes the transatlantic defense news feature “The Dish.” He is also a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center’s Polar Institute and a Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London. 

The career path for Jim Townsend ‘75 is constantly evolving as the world around him continues to adjust and develop, and he is able to be successful in this ever-changing world due to the foundation laid during his years at St. Johns.