Paula Dobriansky

Senior Fellow, The Future of Diplomacy Project, Harvard University

U.S. Foreign Policy in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities

About the Topic

Please note, this lecture will take place on a THURSDAY, due to scheduling at the Bar building.

The past few months may be remembered as one of the most dynamic chapters in foreign policy. Iran is threatening “all out war” following its attacks against Saudi Arabia. Negotiations for a withdrawal from Afghanistan are frozen since the Taliban cancelled a Camp David summit and escalated deadly attacks. North Korea conducted two missile tests on September 9th, their eighth since late July, demonstrating that Kim Jung Un has no intention of accepting the “Libyan model.” Maduro in Venezuela is threatening war with Colombia and China succeeded in further eroding U.S. influence in Asia by poaching the loyalty of the Solomon Islands from our ally Taiwan. All this, while a new NSA adviser is still finding his footing. What are the challenges and opportunities facing American foreign policy leaders? Can the Taliban sign a meaningful peace deal? Can we contain Iran or will it continue to scale up its attacks on its regional adversaries? What can the United States do to keep Russian aggression in check? What are the risks to U.S. national security given the leadership turmoil?

About the Speaker

Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky is a foreign policy expert and former diplomat specializing in national security affairs. She is a Senior Fellow in the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard University’s JFK Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and is Vice Chair of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security (Atlantic Council).

From 2010 - 2012, Ambassador Dobriansky was Senior Vice President and Global Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Thomson Reuters and was appointed the Distinguished National Security Chair at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Ambassador Dobriansky served as Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs from 2001 to 2009. Among her primary accomplishments, she established and led the U.S.-India, U.S.-China, and U.S.- Brazil Global Issues Fora. Additionally, she was head of delegation and lead negotiator on U.S. climate change policy.

In February 2007, as the President's Envoy to Northern Ireland, Ambassador Dobriansky received the Secretary of State’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal for her contribution to the historic devolution of power in Belfast. During her more than 25 years in national security affairs, Ambassador Dobriansky has held many Senate-confirmed and senior level positions in the U.S. Government including Director of European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council.

From 1997- 2001, Ambassador Dobriansky served as Senior Vice President and Director of the Washington Office of the Council on Foreign Relations and was the first George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies. During this time, she also served on the Presidentially-appointed U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Diplomacy, Ambassador Dobriansky serves on Concordia's Leadership Council, IRI's International Advisory Council, the Naval War College Foundation, Middle East Institute and the Atlantic Council.

She received a B.S.F.S. summa cum laude in International Politics from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Soviet political/military affairs from Harvard University. She is a Fulbright-Hays scholar, Ford and Rotary Foundation Fellow, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and the recipient of various honors such as the Foreign Policy Association Medal for her service to country and leadership of the World Affairs Councils of America and the International Republican Institute's Women's Democracy Network Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award (2008)

Additional Information

Please note this lecture will take place on a Thursday due to scheduling at the Bar Building.