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Kiron Skinner

Associate Professor International Relations and Political Science in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Special Appointment to Heinz College

Professor Kiron K. Skinner, a renowned expert in international relations, U.S. foreign policy, and political strategy, is a scholar, an academic administrator, and a tireless public servant.

At Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), she is founding director of the Center for International Relations and Politics; founding director of the Institute for Strategic Analysis; director of the university’s newest academic unit, the Institute for Politics and Strategy, in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences; director of the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program; and associate professor (tenured) of international relations and political science. In addition, Professor Skinner is a Distinguished Fellow at CyLab, a cyber-oriented research center associated with the College of Engineering, and holds courtesy faculty positions at CMU’s Heinz College, the university’s school of public policy, and the Institute for Software Research, an academic department in the School of Computer Science. She has also taught political science courses at Hamilton College, Harvard University, and the University of California, Los Angeles. At Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Professor Skinner is the W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow and a member of the Arctic Security Initiative, the working group on the Role of Military History in International Conflict, and the Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy. Professor Skinner also is a Senior Fellow at Artis Research and Risk Modeling, a science-based research center focused on resolving international crises.

Professor Skinner is an award-winning and best-selling author. Her coauthored books Reagan, In His Own Hand (2001) and Reagan, A Life in Letters (2003) were New York Times best sellers. Reagan, In His Own Hand won the Hoover Institution’s Uncommon Book Award and was serialized in the New York Times Magazine on December 31, 2000. Reagan, A Life in Letters was selected as one of the best books of 2003 by the Los Angeles Times, was Time magazine’s cover story on September 29, 2003, and was the subject of a September 29, 2003, editorial written by the New York Times editorial board. The Strategy of Campaigning: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin (2007), a book Professor Skinner coauthored with Serhiy Kudelia, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, and Condoleezza Rice, was excerpted on the opinion page of the New York Times on September 15, 2007. A frequent contributor of opinion essays, Professor Skinner has written for,, Foreign, National Review Online, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. She also regularly provides scholarly commentary on national and international television and radio programs.

Other academic activities in which Professor Skinner is engaged include serving as an associate editor of Telos, a leading humanities journal, and as the general series editor on Ideology and American Politics for Palgrave Macmillan. Professor Skinner is a co-chair of the National Security working group for the Social Science Research Council’s Anxieties of Democracy program.

Professor Skinner’s government service includes membership on the Eisenhower Commission’s Legacy Committee of historians (2002-03); the US Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board as an adviser on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (2001–07); the Chief of Naval Operations’ Executive Panel (2004–15); the National Academies’ Committee on Behavioral and Social Science Research to Improve Intelligence Analysis for National Security (2009–11); and the National Security Education Board (2004–11). In 2010, Professor Skinner was appointed to the advisory board of the George W. Bush Oral History Project. She served as a foreign policy surrogate for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004; a senior foreign policy adviser to Speaker Newt Gingrich during his presidential campaign in 2011-12; and a senior foreign policy surrogate to Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in the fall of 2012. In 2015-16, she was a member of the foreign policy team for Senator Rand Paul during his presidential bid. Professor Skinner served on Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs from 2012 to 2015.

Professor Skinner serves on a number of boards, including the American Australian Council in Washington, DC; the Atlantic Council of the United States in Washington, DC; Grove City College in Grove City, PA; Propel Schools in the Pittsburgh area; Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA; and the US Global Coalition’s Pennsylvania Advisory Committee. Professor Skinner is a life director of the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, as well as a life member of the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City.


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