Sophie Rutenbar is a visiting fellow in the Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, which she joins as a Council on Foreign Relations international affairs fellow. She also currently works as a visiting scholar with the Prevention and Peacebuilding Program of the New York University Center for International Cooperation.

Rutenbar was previously the mission planning officer for the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti. Based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she worked in the front office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General conducting strategic planning for the United Nations in Haiti. Before that, she served as political affairs officer with the policy planning team of the United Nations Department of Peace Operations. In that role, she worked extensively on U.N. peacekeeping and peace and security reform processes, including supporting the Action for Peacekeeping Initiative (2018-present), the secretary-general’s Peace and Security Restructuring (2017-18) and the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (2015). Rutenbar also helped lead efforts to enhance U.N. peace operations’ capacity to respond to the evolving technology landscape and strengthen U.N. efforts to engage with non-state armed groups.

Her other experience at the U.N. has included working with the United Nations Department of Field Support, United Nations Mission in South Sudan, and the U.N. Secretary-General’s high-level panel on the global response to future health crises. She joined the United Nations in 2013 as the first U.S.-sponsored associate expert/junior professional officer in the U.N. Secretariat, working with the policy planning team for the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support.

Before joining the U.N., Rutenbar worked for organizations in Sudan and South Sudan, including observing the 2011 referendum process on independence for southern Sudan with the Carter Center and working for USAID’s Sudan and South Sudan Transition and Conflict Mitigation Program. She also has experience in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, and Thailand.

She was a 2005 Truman Scholar and previously served as co-president of the board of the Truman Scholars Association. She is also a security fellow with the Truman National Security Project. Rutenbar graduated magna cum laude from the University of Texas at Dallas, where she studied global politics as a Eugene McDermott Scholar. Through the Marshall Scholarship, she received master’s degrees in conflict, security, and development from the War Studies Department at King’s College London and in human rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


  • Council on Foreign Relations, international affairs fellow
  • New York University, Center for International Cooperation, visiting scholar
  • Truman National Security Project, security fellow
  • Areas of Expertise

    • Civil war
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • International organizations
    • Post-conflict reconstruction
  • Current Positions

    • Visiting Scholar, Center for International Cooperation, New York University
    • International Affairs Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
    • Mission Planning Officer, United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti
  • Past Positions

    • Political Affairs Officer, Policy Planning Team, United Nations Department of Peace Operations
    • Programme Officer, Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on the Global Response to Health Crises
    • Associate Expert, Policy Planning Team, United Nations Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support
    • Program Analyst, AECOM International for the USAID South Sudan Transition and Confliction Mitigation Program
  • Education

    • M.Sc., London School of Economics
    • M.A. King's College London
    • B.A. University of Texas at Dallas
  • Languages

    • English
    • French
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