Alyssa Ayres, a top official in the State Department's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs for the past three years, has joined the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia. She will be based in the Washington, DC, office.
"Alyssa Ayres is one of this country's leading experts on India, Pakistan, and South Asia, and we are thrilled to welcome her to the Council on Foreign Relations," said CFR President Richard N. Haass. "The addition of a scholar-practitioner of Alyssa's reputation further strengthens CFR's position as the leading institution for policy-relevant work on Asia."
Ayres joins an illustrious group of Asia experts at CFR, including Director for Asia Studies Elizabeth C. Economy, former U.S. ambassador to India and Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy Robert D. Blackwill, Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia Joshua Kurlantzick, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia Daniel Markey, Senior Fellow for China Studies Adam Segal, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies Sheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Korea Studies Scott A. Snyder, and Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia Studies Jerome A. Cohen.
Ayres became deputy assistant secretary of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs in August 2010. In that role she was responsible for providing policy direction to U.S. embassies and consulates covering six countries: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Maldives. She focused on developing the U.S.-India bilateral relationship and promoted greater economic integration across the region.
Prior to her appointment at the State Department, she led the India and South Asia practice at the international strategic advisory firm McLarty Associates. She is the author of Speaking Like a State: Language and Nationalism in Pakistan, which won the American Institute of Pakistan Studies Book Prize for 2011–2012.
Ayres has been a life member of CFR since 2010 and was a term member from 2002 to 2007. As a CFR international affairs fellow from 2007 to 2008, she worked in the office of Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns.
Ayres holds an AB in Indian Studies from Harvard College and master's and doctoral degrees in South Asian languages and civilizations from the University of Chicago.