Kenneth G. Lieberthal

Senior Fellow Emeritus – Foreign Policy

Kenneth Lieberthal is a senior fellow emeritus in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. From 2009 to 2016, Lieberthal was a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy and Global Economy and Development programs; from 2009 to 2012, he also served as director of the John L. Thornton China Center. Lieberthal was special assistant to the president for national security affairs and senior director for Asia on the National Security Council for 1998 through 2000.

Lieberthal is professor emeritus at the University of Michigan, where until 2009 he was the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Political Science and William Davidson Professor of Business Administration. He was director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Chinese Studies from 1986 to 1989, and on May 15, 2014, the university’s board of regents renamed the center as the “Kenneth G. Lieberthal and Richard H. Rogel Center for Chinese Studies.” He earlier taught at Swarthmore College from 1972 to 1983 before joining the University of Michigan faculty in 1983.

Lieberthal has authored, coauthored, and edited 24 books and monographs, and authored about 75 articles and chapters in books. His books and monographs, many of which are also available in Chinese editions, include, inter alia, China’s Political Development: Chinese and American Perspectives,” contributing co-editor with Cheng Li and Yu Keping (Brookings Institution Press, 2014); “Bending History: Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy,” with Martin Indyk and Michael O’Hanlon (Brookings Institution Press, 2012); “Addressing US-China Strategic Distrust,” with Wang Jisi (Brookings China Center, 2012); “Cybersecurity and US-China Relations,” with Peter Singer (Brookings, 2012); “Managing the China Challenge: How to Achieve Corporate Success in the People’s Republic” (Brookings Institution Press, 2011); contributing co-editor, “Chinese Politics: New Sources, Methods, and Field Strategies” (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010); “The U.S. Intelligence Community and Foreign Policy: Getting Analysis Right” (Brookings China Center, 2009); “Overcoming Obstacles to US-China Cooperation on Climate Change,” with David Sandalow (Brookings China Center, 2009); and “Governing China: From Revolution Through Reform” (W.W. Norton, second revised edition 2004).

Lieberthal has consulted widely on Chinese and Asian affairs and has advised the U.S. Departments of State, Defense and Commerce, the World Bank, the Kettering Foundation, the Aspen Institute, the United Nations Association and corporations in the private sector.

He has a bachelor’s from Dartmouth College, and a master’s and doctorate in political science from Columbia University.

Asia Policy, member, editorial board
China: An International Journal, member, editorial board
China Economic Review, member, editorial board
Chinese Academy of Governance, guest professor
Cosmos Club, Washington, D.C., member
Council on Foreign Relations, member
Duke Kunshan University, member, advisory board
East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore, member, international advisory board
Foreign Policy Bulletin, member, editorial board
Journal of Contemporary China, member, editorial board
National Bureau of Asian Research, member, board of advisors
National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, member, board of directors and executive committee of the board
National Development and Reform Commission, International Cooperation Centre, senior advisor
Research Center for Contemporary China, Peking University, member, board of advisors
Shanghai Institute of International Studies, member, international advisory council
Tsinghua University, Center for China in the World Economy, member, board of advisors
University of Michigan, member, provost’s advisory committee
U.S.-China Policy Foundation, member, board of directors
United States Asia Pacific Council, member
William Davidson Institute, member, board of directors

  • Past Positions

    • Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Global Economy and Development, John L. Thornton China Center
    • Director, John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings
    • University of Michigan: William Davidson Professor of Business Administration, Ross School of Business, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Political Science, Distinguished Fellow and Director for China at the William Davidson Institute, and Faculty Associate of the Center for Chinese Studies
    • Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Senior Director for Asia, National Security Council (1998-2000)
    • Numerous editorial and advisory boards and committees
    • Consulted for a variety of U.S. government agencies, corporations and NGOs
  • Education

    • Ph.D. (1972), M.A. (1968), Columbia University
    • B.A., Dartmouth College, 1965
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