Thomas Christensen

Thomas J. Christensen

Nonresident Senior Fellow – Foreign Policy, John L. Thornton China Center

Thomas J. Christensen is a nonresident senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings and professor of public and international affairs and director of the China and the World program in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. From 2006 to 2008, he served as U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, with responsibility for relations with China, Taiwan, and Mongolia.

His research and teaching focuses on China’s foreign relations, the international relations of East Asia, and international security. Previously, he taught at Princeton University, Cornell University, and MIT. He received his bachelor’s from Haverford College, his master’s in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in political science from Columbia University.

Christensen has served on the board of directors and the executive committee of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. He is editor of the Nancy B. Tucker and Warren I. Cohen book series on the United States in Asia at Columbia University Press. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was presented with a Distinguished Public Service Award by the United States Department of State.

Columbia University Press, series editor
Council on Foreign Relations, life member
National Bureau of Asian Research, member, advisory board
Princeton University, China and the World Program and Master’s in Public Policy Program, director
Princeton University, professor
Schwarzman Educational Foundation, member, academic advisory board
World Politics, member, editorial committee

  • Areas of Expertise

    • China’s foreign relations
    • International relations of East Asia
    • International security
    • Government
    • International history and politics
  • Current Positions

    • Professor of Public and International Affairs and Director of the China and the World Program, Columbia University
  • Past Positions

    • Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs with responsibility for relations with China, Taiwan, and Mongolia
    • Professor of Political Science, MIT
    • Associate Professor of Government, Cornell University
    • Director for China, National Bureau of Asian Research
    • Member, U.S.-China Task Force, Council on Foreign Relations
    • American Delegation Member, 10th and 11th U.S.-China Dialogue sponsored by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, Beijing, China and Tarrytown, New York
  • Education

    • Ph.D., Political Science, Columbia University
    • M.A., International Relations, University of Pennsylvania
    • B.A., Haverford College
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