Experts

Richard N. Haass

President, Council on Foreign Relations

About the Expert

Expert Bio

Dr. Richard Haass is a veteran diplomat, a prominent voice on American foreign policy, and an established leader of nonprofit institutions. He is in his eighteenth year as president of the Council on Foreign Relations, an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, publisher, and educational institution dedicated to being a resource to help people better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.

In 2013, he served as the chair of the multiparty negotiations in Northern Ireland that provided the foundation for the 2014 Stormont House Agreement. For his efforts to promote peace and conflict resolution, he received the 2013 Tipperary International Peace Award.

From January 2001 to June 2003, Dr. Haass was director of policy planning for the Department of State, where he directed the policy planning staff and was a principal advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Confirmed by the U.S. Senate to hold the rank of ambassador, Dr. Haass also served as U.S. coordinator for policy toward the future of Afghanistan and U.S. envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process.

Dr. Haass has extensive additional government experience. From 1989 to 1993, he was special assistant to President George H.W. Bush and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. In 1991, Dr. Haass was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for his contributions to the development and articulation of U.S. policy during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Previously, he served in the Departments of State (1981–1985) and Defense (1979–1980), and was a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate.

A Rhodes Scholar, Dr. Haass holds a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and master’s and doctorate of philosophy degrees from Oxford University. He has also received numerous honorary degrees and was a member of the faculty of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and Hamilton College.

Dr. Haass is the author or editor of fourteen books on American foreign policy and one book on management. His latest book is The World: A Brief Introduction, published by Penguin Press.

Dr. Haass was born in Brooklyn, New York, and lives in New York City.

Affiliations:

  • Member, Board of Directors, Lazard
  • Member, Advisory Board, Cyrus Capital Partners
  • Member, Investment Committee, Safra Foundation
  • Consultant: Palantir, Dataminr, and Percipient.Ai
  • Immigration and Migration

    Please join us for an on-the-record discussion on migration trends and the many questions confronting U.S. immigration policy, including but not limited to our southern border. This event is part of CFR’s new Home and Abroad series, which explores issues at the nexus of U.S. domestic and foreign policy that affect America’s role in the world. This event is free and open to all. To register, please sign up here. Zoom access instructions will be emailed to registrants on the evening of Tuesday, June 29.
  • New Zealand

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern discusses the future of New Zealand's foreign policy and lessons learned from the country's response to COVID-19 and reopening.  This meeting kicks off the 2021 Virtual National Conference and is open to all CFR members. The National Conference is underwritten by a generous gift given in memory of Peter E. Haas from the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund. Inaugurated in 1969, the Russell C. Leffingwell Lecture was named for Russell C. Leffingwell, a charter member of the Council who served as its president from 1944 to 1946 and as its chairman from 1946 to 1953. The lecture is given by distinguished foreign officials, who are invited to address Council members on a topic of major international significance.
  • Space

    Charles F. Bolden Jr., former NASA administrator and astronaut who flew on four space shuttle missions, and his son, Ché Bolden, a Marine Corps veteran, speak at a multigenerational conversation about leadership spanning decades of public, private, and military service.  
  • United States

    The Conference on Diversity in International Affairs brings together college and graduate students and young professionals from diverse backgrounds for plenaries on foreign policy topics, seminars on professional development, and opportunities to interact virtually with senior foreign policy professionals. The 2021 conference featured a keynote session with President of the Ford Foundation Darren Walker. The 2021 Conference on Diversity in International Affairs is a collaborative effort by the Council on Foreign Relations, the Global Access Pipeline, and the International Career Advancement Program. For information about the conference in previous years, please click here
  • Global Governance

    Richard N. Haass, Chen Dongxiao, and Nathalie Tocci discuss the mounting challenges to global governance and their implications for international cooperation, including rising climate concerns, economic volatility, and increasing great power tensions amid a global pandemic. The Council of Councils (CoC) is an international initiative created by the Council on Foreign Relations to connect leading foreign policy institutes from around the world in a dialogue on issues of global governance and multilateral cooperation. The CoC is composed of twenty-eight major policy institutes from some of the world’s most influential countries. It is designed to facilitate candid, not-for-attribution dialogue and consensus-building among influential opinion leaders from both established and emerging nations, with the ultimate purpose of injecting the conclusions of its deliberations into high-level foreign policy circles within members' countries.
  • Public Health Threats and Pandemics

  • Religion

  • China

    State Councilor Wang Yi discusses China's foreign and domestic policies, including the impact of COVID-19 and the future of relations with the United States.
  • Diplomacy and International Institutions

    Thomas Donilon discusses his distinguished career in business and government, including his role as national security advisor under President Barack Obama, working with three U.S. presidents, serving at the state department, and his current roles at BlackRock and the Council on Foreign Relations. Lessons Learned is a roundtable series, open to term members and younger life members, which features distinguished speakers who reflect on their career experiences, the choices they made along the way, and the lessons they have learned from them.
  • Politics and Government

    CFR’s inaugural Home and Abroad series public forum on the state of democracy globally discusses the role democracy should occupy in U.S. foreign policy, and actions policymakers, business leaders, civil society, and citizens should consider taking and supporting to promote democratic norms, values, and institutions here and around the world.   This meeting is part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Project on the Future of Democracy.
  • Climate Change

    The Investing in a Sustainable Future virtual symposium was held on March 9 and 10, 2021. The event convened experts to examine how financial markets currently assess climate risk, as well as potential measures to ensure better incorporation of climate considerations. Keynote speaker Larry Fink of BlackRock discussed how investors and businesses can adapt to the challenges posed by a changing climate. Presented as part of the Rita Hauser Annual Event, the symposium was made possible by the generous support of the Hauser Foundation
  • Education

    The 2021 Virtual College and University Educators Workshop convened professors from across the country for substantive expert briefings and group discussions on foreign policy issues, to learn about the wide variety of CFR and Foreign Affairs academic resources available, and to share best practices and educational tools for bringing international affairs into the classroom.  
  • State and Local Governments (U.S.)

  • United States

    Tony Coles in conversation on his distinguished career in medicine and biotechnology, including his roles as CEO of Cerevel Therapeutics and chairman and founder of Yumanity Therapeutics where he was instrumental in advancing potential new treatments for Parkinson's disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease). Lessons Learned is a roundtable series, open to term members and younger life members, which features distinguished speakers who reflect on their career experiences, the choices they made along the way, and the lessons they have learned from them.
  • Public Health Threats and Pandemics

    On the one-year anniversary of Think Global Health, CFR’s website devoted to global health, our panelists discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we think about the role of global health in shaping economies, societies, and everyday lives. This meeting is cosponsored with CFR’s Global Health Program.
  • Transition 2021

    Richard Haass and David Rubenstein discuss the most pressing foreign policy challenges to greet the Biden administration, including U.S.-China relations, cybersecurity, climate change, nuclear proliferation, and the pandemic, as part of the first event in CFR’s Transition 2021 series. The Transition 2021 series examines the major issues confronting the administration in the foreign policy arena.
  • Nigeria

    John Campbell discusses his new book, Nigeria and the Nation-State. Nigeria is Africa's largest economy and is projected to be the third most populous country in the world by 2050, yet its democratic aspirations are challenged by rising insecurity. Nigeria and the Nation-State is an antidote to the mistakes of the past and a way for the West to pay the necessary attention to Nigeria now. The CFR Fellows’ Book Launch series highlights new books by CFR fellows.
  • Diplomacy and International Institutions

    Speakers discuss the distinguished career of former Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, and White House Chief of Staff James Baker.
  • United States

  • Global Governance

    Richard N. Haass, Sunjoy Joshi, and Elizabeth Sidiropoulos discuss the mounting challenges to global governance and their implications for international cooperation, including rising climate concerns, economic volatility, and increasing great power tensions amid a global pandemic. The Council of Councils (CoC) is an international initiative created by the Council on Foreign Relations to connect leading foreign policy institutes from around the world in a dialogue on issues of global governance and multilateral cooperation. The CoC is composed of twenty-eight major policy institutes from some of the world’s most influential countries. It is designed to facilitate candid, not-for-attribution dialogue and consensus-building among influential opinion leaders from both established and emerging nations, with the ultimate purpose of injecting the conclusions of its deliberations into high-level foreign policy circles within members' countries.
  • China

    Yanzhong Huang discusses his new book, Toxic Politics: China’s Environmental Health Crisis and Its Challenge to the Chinese State. Environmental degradation in China has taken a heavy toll not only on public health, but also on Chinese society, the economy, and the legitimacy of the party-state. Toxic Politics connects the limited success of China's pollution control to pathologies inherent in the institutional structure of the Chinese party-state, revealing a political system that is remarkably resilient, but fundamentally flawed. The CFR Fellows’ Book Launch series highlights new books by CFR fellows.
  • Transition 2021

    In CFR’s final forum of the Election 2020 series, Secretary Albright and Dr. Haass discuss the foreign policy challenges awaiting the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
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    PLEASE NOTE: CFR members are encouraged to watch the documentary The Perfect Weapon prior to the virtual discussion. A link to view the film will be sent to registrants on Monday, October 5. Please join our panelists for a discussion on how cyber became the weapon of choice for nonstate actors and states alike. Directed by John Maggio and based on the book of the same name by David Sanger, The Perfect Weapon explores the rise of cyber conflict as a primary way in which nations now compete with and sabotage one another. 
  • United States

    Charles A. Kupchan discusses his new book, Isolationism: A History of America’s Efforts to Shield Itself From the World. From the founding era until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States avoided strategic commitments abroad, with brief exceptions during the Spanish-American War and World War I. The United States then abandoned isolationism amid World War II and the Cold War, and instead embraced global engagement. Isolationism, however, is currently making a comeback as Americans pull away from foreign entanglement. Isolationism explores the enduring connection between the isolationist impulse and the American experience across the full arc of U.S. history. The CFR Fellows’ Book Launch series highlights new books by CFR fellows.