Kiron Skinner, a highly respected African American foreign policy expert and the former director of policy planning at the State Department, is joining the Heritage Foundation as a visiting scholar.
“Kiron Skinner this week joined The Heritage Foundation as a visiting fellow at the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy,” the think tank said when it announced the appointment Tuesday morning.
“Skinner brings broad expertise in international relations, international security, U.S. foreign policy, and political strategy. Her work at Heritage will focus on analyzing how cutting edge technology – including artificial intelligence (AI), quantum science, and a host of other breakthroughs – will impact foreign policy and national security,” it added.
Skinner is the author or editor of seven books, including her groundbreaking work on Ronald Reagan, the New York Times best-seller “Reagan, In His Own Hand” and “Reagan, A Life in Letters.”
At the State Department, Skinner served as a senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and played a central role in creating his Commission on Unalienable Rights and rechartering the Foreign Affairs Policy Board.
“Kiron is a longtime thought leader known for her high character, tireless work ethic, stellar collaborative ability, and deep connections across influential communities,” Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James said in the announcement.
“It’s difficult to imagine a better mind joining Heritage for this work at a more perfect time, as the intersection of information, technology, and policy looms larger in every one of our lives every day. Her addition will help us navigate largely uncharted waters and contribute to a future in which technology, freedom, and security are complementary forces for societal good,” James said.
Heritage Foundation Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy James Carafano said in the announcement, “Dr. Skinner brings vast knowledge, experience, and a practitioner’s perspective that will keep Heritage on the leading edge of shaping policy around emerging technology.”
“Dr. Skinner provides unique insight into the nation’s foreign policy priorities, strategies, and key influencers and will be key in ensuring our policy analysis is bold, realistic, and aimed at maximum influence,” he added.
Mary Ann Glendon, the chairwoman of the State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights and a Harvard Law School professor, said in the announcement, “Her wisdom, skill, and experience will make her a treasure for Heritage.”
Skinner is also the Taube professor of international relations and politics and director of the Institute of Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University, and a member of the artificial intelligence faculty community at the university, which holds the No. 1 spot among all U.S. universities for AI graduate training.
She is also the W. Glenn Campbell research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
She served on the Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board between 2001 to 2007, and again from 2017 to 2018, and is a lifetime director on the board of the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. She is also member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City and the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles.
Skinner holds master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from Harvard University and undergraduate degrees from Spelman College and Sacramento City College.