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Karen Meacham  

Dean, Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy and Director of Educational Outreach

Karen Meacham is dean of the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy (AILA) and director of educational outreach for CSIS. Launched in April 2002, AILA is named for David M. Abshire, cofounder of CSIS, and Kazuo Inamori, founder of Kyocera Corporation and the Inamori Foundation in Japan. The academy’s primary purpose is to promote a better understanding of leadership among individuals, within institutions, across borders, and between generations—within the context of shifting global trends and the dynamics that shape international relations. AILA provides a wide variety of educational programs and a forum for international leaders to investigate global challenges: from speaker series and training sessions for young professionals to foreign policy seminars for colleges and universities to the AILA International Fellowship, which brings together mid-career professionals from around the world to investigate global challenges and their own leadership potential.

Previously, Ms. Meacham helped stand up the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, where she served as deputy director for two years, highlighting the intersection between health, foreign policy, and security. Before that she worked on the CSIS Smart Power project, which developed a vision for how the United States can complement its economic and military power with a revitalized ability to inspire and persuade. As part of this effort, she directed the Dialogue with America, a grassroots initiative meant to bring an “outside-the-beltway” perspective to the foreign policy debate. Before joining CSIS, Ms. Meacham was a senior member of Mayor Anthony Williams’ administration in Washington, D.C. From 1995 to 1998, she served with the U.S. Peace Corps as an agricultural volunteer in Senegal, West Africa. She received her M.P.A. from Columbia University and her B.A. in geography from Vassar College.


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