The Big Picture is a forum that explores international affairs through arts and culture.

We host art and photography exhibits and cultural experiences alongside policy-relevant conversations on global issues.

The forum is housed at the Johns Hopkins SAIS Foreign Policy Institute (FPI), which seeks to advance practically oriented research and discussion about foreign policy.

All of our engagements bring different communities into conversation with one another. We are guided by the idea that better policy will result from engaging in interdisciplinary conversations across many sectors.  

The Big Picture is committed to collaboration, dialogue, and exploration with thoughtful, impact-oriented, and creative partners:

because we believe we need to get out of our bubbles to be truly effective in solving global challenges;

because theater, art, music, photography, and so many other forms of cultural expression pique our interest in the world and offer new solutions for solving global challenges;

and because at Johns Hopkins SAIS, we train our students to improve the global human condition – and this series serves as extension of that education.


The Big Picture is directed by Shamila N. Chaudhary, a Fellow at FPI and Senior Advisor to the Dean.

After a lengthy tenure in the U.S. government, where she served in a variety of national security and diplomatic positions, she began working at Johns Hopkins SAIS in 2013. She is responsible for special projects for the Dean and oversees communications, marketing, institutional planning, and strategic initiatives.

During the week she reads the news and talks about foreign policy, and on the weekends she drinks tea, takes photographs, and works on paintings exploring themes of politics, identity, and conflict.