DACOR - Event Information

Event Name:America in the World
Event Type(s):Speaker Program
Description:Join us for a conversation with Mr. Robert Zoellick on his latest book, America in the World: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy with Professor Philip Zelikow.

Ranging from Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson to Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan, and James Baker, America in the World: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy tells the vibrant story of American diplomacy. Recounting the actors and events of U.S. foreign policy, Zoellick identifies five traditions that have emerged from America's encounters with the world: the importance of North America; the special roles trading, transnational, and technological relations play in defining ties with others; changing attitudes toward alliances and ways of ordering connections among states; the need for public support, especially through Congress; and the belief that American policy should serve a larger purpose. These traditions frame a closing review of post-Cold War presidencies, which Zoellick foresees serving as guideposts for the future.

Robert B. Zoellick is the non-executive chairman of AllianceBernstein, a leading global investment management firm that offers high-quality research and diversified investment services to institutional investors, individuals, and private wealth clients in major world markets. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In addition, Zoellick serves on the boards of Temasek, Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, and Laureate International Universities. He also is a member of the board of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, chairs the Global Tiger Initiative, and is a member of the Global Leadership Council of Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian agency.

Zoellick was the President of the World Bank Group from 2007-12, U.S. Trade Representative from 2001 to 2005, and Deputy Secretary of State from 2005 to 2006. From 1985 to 1993, Zoellick served as Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury and Under Secretary of State, as well as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff.

Zoellick is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, the Department of State’s highest honor, the Alexander Hamilton Award of the Department of the Treasury, and the Medal for Distinguished Public Service of the Department of Defense. The German government awarded him the Knight Commanders Cross for his achievements in the course of German unification. The Mexican and Chilean governments awarded him their highest honors for non-citizens, the Aztec Eagle and the Order of Merit, for recognition of his work on free trade, development, and the environment.

Zoellick holds a J.D. magna cum laude from the Harvard Law School, a master's degree in public policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and a bachelor's degree (Phi Beta Kappa) from Swarthmore College.


Philip Zelikow is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia.  He has also served at all levels of American government, including as an elected member of a town school board.  He began his professional career as a trial and appellate lawyer in Texas, including work for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. After returning to graduate school and then teaching for the Navy, he joined the Foreign Service and served as a career diplomat, posted overseas and in Washington, including service on the NSC staff for President George H.W. Bush. His Ph.D. is from Tufts University's Fletcher School.  

Since leaving regular government service in 1991 he has taught and directed research programs at Harvard University and at the University of Virginia. At Virginia he directed the Miller Center of Public Affairs from 1998 to 2005. Later, he was the dean in charge of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (2011-14).

His scholarship focuses on critical episodes in American and world history.  His books include The Road Less Traveled: The Secret Battle to End the Great War, 1916-1917 (PublicAffairs, 2021); To Build a Better World: Choices to End the Cold War and Create a Global Commonwealth (Twelve, 2019, with Condoleezza Rice); Suez Deconstructed: An Interactive Study of Crisis, War, and Peacemaking (Brookings, 2018); America's Moment: Creating Opportunity in the Connected Age (Norton, 2015, drafted on behalf of the Markle Foundation group, "Rework America"); Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (Longman, rev. ed., 1999, with Graham Allison); The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis (Norton ed., 2001, with Ernest May); and Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft (Harvard UP, 1995, with Condoleezza Rice).

While in academia he has remained engaged with public service. While at the Miller Center, he directed the 2001 commission on national election reform, chaired by former Presidents Carter and Ford. This work led directly to congressional passage of the bipartisan Help America Vote Act of 2002.  He later took two public service leaves to return to full-time government service. The first of these leaves was in 2003-04, to direct the 9/11 Commission.  The Commission's landmark report was published in 2004. The second leave was in 2005-07 to serve as Counselor of the Department of State, a deputy to Secretary Rice. He is currently leading the privately-sponsored Covid Commission Planning Group (2021).

He has also been a member of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board both for President Bush (2001-03) and for President Obama (2011-13), one of few individuals to serve on this board in administrations of both parties. He was a member of the Defense Policy Board (2015-17).  He also advised the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s program in global development (2007-12).

Event Date:5/14/2021
Event Time:12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Eastern
Contact Person:DACOR Programs
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America in the World: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy

Mr. Robert Zoellick
Senior Fellow, Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School

Dr. Philip Zelikow
White Burkett Miller Professor of History, University of Virginia

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