top of page

Russia and the United States with Stephen Sestanovich

At the Council of American Ambassadors' Fall Conference Potpourri of Diplomacy, Dr. Stephen Sestanovich spoke on Russian-American relations. Dr. Sestanovich is the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of International Diplomacy at Colombia University SIPA. From 1997 to 2001, he was the U.S. State Department's Ambassador-at-large for the former Soviet Union. CAA Senior Vice President Ambassador G. Philip Hughes introduced Dr. Sestanovich and moderated the ensuing Q&A session.


Ambassador Stephen Sestanovich joined SIPA’s faculty in the fall of 2001 as the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of International Diplomacy. He is also the director of the International Fellows Program and the author, most recently, of Maximalist: America in the World from Truman to Obama (Knopf, February 2014). Professor Sestanovich has had a long and diverse professional career, serving both in and out of government. From 1997 to 2001, he held the position of Ambassador-at-large and Special Advisor to the Secretary of State on the New Independent States (NIS). In this role, he was responsible for the overall coordination of U.S. policy toward the states of the former Soviet Union, both within the State Department and with other agencies of the U.S. Government. He served as the principal public spokesman for the administration and the Department of State before Congress and the public on policy toward the NIS. Before joining the State Department, Ambassador Sestanovich was the vice president for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where he oversaw the Endowment’s policy research center in Moscow and its program of post-Soviet studies in Washington. From 1987 to 1994, he was director of Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. From 1984 to 1987, Ambassador Sestanovich was senior director for policy development at the National Security Council. He served as a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State from 1981 to 1984, and was senior legislative assistant for foreign policy to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan from 1980 to 1981. Ambassador Sestanovich is the George F. Kennan Senior Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Endowment for Democracy. He earned a BA degree summa cum laude from Cornell University in 1972 and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University in 1978. From 1978 to 1980, he was assistant professor of political science at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research; and from 1979 to 1980, visiting assistant professor of political science at Columbia University.

bottom of page