Strobe Talbott

Distinguished Fellow – Foreign Policy

Strobe Talbott is a distinguished fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution.

Previously, Talbott served as president of the Brookings Institution from July 2002 to October 2017, after a career in journalism, government, and academe.

Prior to joining Brookings, Talbott was founding director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. Before that, he 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.

His 12th book, “Fast Forward, Ethics and Politics in the Age of Global Warming,” which he co-authored with William Antholis, Brookings managing director, was released in paperback in summer 2011. His past books include: “The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation;” “Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy and the Bomb;” “The Russia Hand; At the Highest Levels” (with Michael Beschloss); “The Master of the Game;” “Reagan and Gorbachev” (with Michael Mandelbaum); “Deadly Gambits; Reagan and the Russians;” and “Endgame.” In the 1960s, as a student at Oxford, he contributed to a volume of poetry, and in the early 1970s he translated and edited two volumes of Nikita Khrushchev’s memoirs.

He has also 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. He is the author of a Brookings Essay, “Monnet’s Brandy and Europe’s Fate.”

In December 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 Kerry’s tenure. He is also currently 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. In 2007-08, he served as a member of the National Commission on War Powers. Previously, Talbott served as a fellow of the Yale Corporation, a trustee of the Hotchkiss School and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a director of the Council on Foreign Relations, the North American Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission, and the American Association of Rhodes Scholars.

Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1946, he was educated at Hotchkiss, Yale (B.A., ’68, M.A.Hon., ’76), and Oxford (M.Litt., ’71). He has honorary doctorates from the Monterey Institute, Trinity College, Georgetown University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Fairfield University, and he has been awarded state orders by the presidents of Estonia, Georgia, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, the kings of Sweden and Belgium, and the emperor of Japan.

He and his late wife, Brooke Shearer (d. 2009), had two sons, Devin and Adrian Talbott. He has five grandchildren, and in 2015 he married Barbara Lazear Ascher, a journalist and author.

  • Areas of Expertise

    • Europe
    • National security
    • NATO
    • Russia/former Soviet Union
    • South Asia
    • U.N./global governance
    • U.S. foreign policy
  • Current Positions

    • Chair, Foreign Affairs Policy Board, U.S. Department of State
  • Past Positions

    • President, The Brookings Institution (2002-2017)
    • Director, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, Yale University
    • Deputy Secretary of State (1994–2001)
    • Ambassador-at-Large and Special Adviser to the Secretary of State on the New Independent States (1993–94)
    • Editor-at-Large and Foreign Affairs Columnist (1989–92), Washington Bureau Chief (1984–89), Diplomatic Correspondent (1977–84), White House Correspondent (1975–76), State Department Correspondent (1974–75), and Eastern Europe Correspondent (1971–73), Time Magazine
  • Education

    • M.Litt., Oxford University, 1971
    • B.A., Yale University, 1968
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