Strobe Talbott comes to Northwestern as Buffett’s first Distinguished Visitor

January 11, 2018

Strobe Talbott headshot. Photo credit: Michael BacosStrobe Talbott, former president of the Brookings Institution and an expert in international relations, will be the inaugural distinguished visitor for the Buffett Institute’s Distinguished Visitors Program. Talbott was a long-time reporter for Time magazine before serving as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State from 1994-2001. He was president of the Brookings Institution from 2002-2017. He is currently a senior fellow in the Brookings Foreign Policy program.

“I’m excited and honored to visit Northwestern and the Buffett Institute in the course of 2018,” Talbott said. “Having met with faculty and learned about the Institute’s mission, I’m impressed by the quality of soon-to-be-colleagues and looking forward to exchanging ideas — and, of course, engaging with students. I will learn from the experience, and, I hope, my career of journalism, diplomacy and policy research in Washington might help me bring useful perspectives to the teachers, the students, and the community.”

The Distinguished Visitor program brings thought leaders in international affairs, senior governmental officials, and heads of nonprofits and international institutions to engage in dialogue and scholarship on global issues with the Northwestern community. The program is made possible through the generosity of Roberta Buffett Elliott. Talbott is the first of what is planned to be a number of distinguished visitors.

Talbott also will join Northwestern faculty and international scholars at a conference on the consequences of globalization sponsored by the Buffett Institute and the Institute for Policy Research that will be held May 24 and 25, 2018.

“Over the course of his extraordinary career, Strobe Talbott has engaged global policymaking and analysis at the very highest levels, most recently as president of the Brookings Institution, our country’s most prestigious and influential think tank,” said Bruce Carruthers, director of the Buffett Institute. “Talbott will bring deep insights and rich experience to both the Buffett Institute and to Northwestern University. I am very pleased that his visit will launch a new program that invites to campus accomplished global leaders, researchers, and practitioners to enrich the intellectual life of students and faculty.”

As the first distinguished visitor, Talbott will be on campus three times during the winter and spring quarters, where he will take part in major public conversations on national politics, contemporary Russia and the relationship of academic research and national policy.

His public first event, a conversation with Diane Schanzenbach about the policy relevance of academic research, is on March 1. During his trip, he will also meet with undergraduate and graduate students interested in careers in journalism and public policy as well as with faculty and Buffett Institute researchers.

Talbott served in the State Department from 1993 to 2001, first as ambassador-at-large and special adviser to the secretary of state for the new independent states of the former Soviet Union, then as deputy secretary of state for seven years.

Talbott entered government service after 21 years with Time magazine. As a reporter, he covered Eastern Europe, the State Department and the White House, then was Washington bureau chief, editor-at-large and foreign affairs columnist. He was twice awarded the Edward Weintal Prize for distinguished diplomatic reporting.

He is the author of 12 books and has written for Foreign Affairs, The New Yorker, Foreign Policy, International Security, The Economist, Financial Times, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Post, and Slate.

In 2011, Talbott was named by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as chair of the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board, a post he held through Secretary John Kerry’s tenure. He has also been a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Academy of Diplomacy, chairman of the board of the American Ditchley Foundation and a governor of the Conference of Montreal.

Learn more about the Distinguished Visitor program.

US Foreign Policy