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Meghan L. O’Sullivan is the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and the Director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. Her expertise includes the geopolitics of energy, American foreign policy, decision making in foreign policy, nation-building, and the Middle East. Her third book, Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America’s Power, will be published by Simon & Schuster in September 2017.
At Harvard, Professor O’Sullivan runs the Geopolitics of Energy Project at the Belfer Center at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. The project brings together experts from the realms of academia, industry, and government to explore the complex interactions between energy markets and international affairs.
Dr. O’Sullivan also has extensive experience in policy formulation and in negotiation. Between 2004 and 2007, she was special assistant to President George W. Bush and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan during the last two years of her tenure. There, she helped run two strategic policy reviews: one on Afghanistan in the summer of 2006 and one on Iraq in late 2006 and early 2007, which led to the “surge” strategy. In her job at the National Security Council, Dr. O’Sullivan was responsible for building consensus around new policy directions in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as overseeing their execution. Dr. O’Sullivan spent two years from 2003-2008 in Iraq, most recently in the fall of 2008 to help negotiate and conclude the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and strategic framework agreement between the United States and Iraq. During an earlier posting in Baghdad, O’Sullivan also helped negotiate the Transitional Administrative Law, which was the interim constitution of Iraq from 2004-2006.
From July 2013 to December 2013, Professor O’Sullivan was the Vice Chair of the All Party Talks in Northern Ireland. These negotiations sought to resolve issues that have been persistent obstacles to achieving a more durable peace in Northern Ireland since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Other positions held by Dr. O’Sullivan was also include senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia in the NSC in 2004; political advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority administrator and deputy director for governance in Baghdad; chief advisor to the presidential envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process; and a fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Dr. O’Sullivan is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, a columnist for Bloomberg View, and a consultant to Hess Corporation, and a member of the International Advisory Group for the British law firm, Linklaters. She is a trustee of both the German Marshall Fund and the Friends of Inter Mediate, a UK-based non-profit focused on the most complex and dangerous world conflicts. She is on the Executive Committee of The Trilateral Commission and a member of the board of The Mission Continues, a non-profit organization to help veterans. She is also a member of the Aspen Strategy Group and on the advisory committee for the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. She was a Henry Crown Fellow from 2015-2017 and a Henry Luce Fellow from 1991-1992.
Professor O’Sullivan has been awarded the Defense Department's highest honor for civilians, the Distinguished Public Service Medal, and three times been awarded the State Department's Superior Honor Award. In 2008, Esquire Magazine named her one of the most influential people of the century. O’Sullivan earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University, a masters of science in economics and doctorate in politics from Oxford University.