Jackson Visiting Fellows Program

Jackson Visiting Fellows are distinguished practitioners invited to participate in an immersive multi-day program on the Yale campus, highlighting their extraordinary contributions to global affairs. They enrich the Jackson and broader university community through attending classes, giving public talks, and interacting with students and faculty through a variety of engaging events. 

Launched in 2019, the Jackson Visiting Fellows program strengthens connections between the Jackson Institute and centers of excellence across Yale University, integrates practitioners with scholars, and extends Jackson’s vibrant network of exceptional individuals deeply committed to global affairs. 


Fall 2020

Susan Rice | October 12, 2020

On October 12, more than 300 attendees tuned in to hear from Ambassador Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor to President Obama and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Ambassador Rice expanded on themes addressed in her book, “Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For,” including the importance of receiving candid feedback and being willing to admit failure and course-correct. 

Rice responded to audience questions on a variety of topics, including the future of North Korea’s nuclear program, the impact of Chinese and Russian influence on the African continent, civilian-military relationships, and the U.S. response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. 

Rick Levin, past president of Yale and the Frederick William Beinecke Professor of Economics, Emeritus, moderated the conversation.

Ambassador Rice served President Barack Obama as National Security Advisor and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In her role as National Security Advisor from July 1, 2013, to January 20, 2017, Ambassador Rice led the National Security Council Staff and chaired the Cabinet-level National Security Principals Committee. She provided the President daily national security briefings and was responsible for coordinating the formulation and implementation of all aspects of the Administration’s foreign and national security policy, intelligence, and military efforts. As U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, Rice worked to advance U.S. interests, defend universal values, strengthen the world’s security and prosperity, and promote respect for human rights.

Ambassador Rice served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1997 – 2001. In that role, she formulated and implemented U.S. policy towards 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and oversaw the management of 43 U.S. Embassies and more than 5,000 U.S. and Foreign Service national employees.

James Clapper | October 20, 2020

On October 20, more than 300 attendees tuned in for the Jackson Visiting Fellow Discussion Forum featuring Lt. Gen. James Clapper (ret.).

Clapper discussed his book, “Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence.” Asha Rangappa, a senior lecturer at Jackson, moderated the conversation.

Clapper served from 2010 – 2017 as the Director of National Intelligence. In that position, he led the United States intelligence community and served as the principal intelligence advisor to the President.

Previously, Clapper served in two administrations as the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, where he was the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense on intelligence, counterintelligence, and security matters for the Department. In this capacity, he was also dual-hatted as the Director of Defense Intelligence for DNI.

Earlier, he directed the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), transforming it into the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) as it is today. He also served as a consultant and advisor to Congress and to the Departments of Defense and Energy and as a member of a wide variety of government panels, boards, commissions, and advisory groups.

Clapper, who began his military career as a rifleman in the U.S. Marine Corps, served two combat tours during the Southeast Asia conflict and flew 73 combat support missions in EC-47s over Laos and Cambodia. He was Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence at U.S. Air Force Headquarters during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Director of Intelligence for three war-fighting commands: U.S. Forces Korea, Pacific Command, and Strategic Air Command.

Following his retirement from military service in 1995, Clapper worked in the private sector for six years as an executive in three companies focused on services for the intelligence community. He was a member of the Downing Assessment Task Force that investigated the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996, and was vice chairman of a commission chaired by former Gov. Jim Gilmore of Virginia on the subject of homeland security.

Watch a recording from the discussion

Fiona Hill | November 17, 2020

More than 350 attendees tuned in for the Nov. 17 Visiting Fellow Discussion Forum with Fiona Hill, PhD.

Hill discussed “America, Russia, and the World: Where Do We Go From Here?”

Paul Kennedy, the J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History and Global Affairs at Yale, moderated the conversation.

Hill is a senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. She recently served as deputy assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council from 2017 to 2019. From 2006 to 2009, she served as national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at The National Intelligence Council. She is co-author of “Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin” (Brookings Institution Press, 2015).

Prior to joining Brookings, Hill was director of strategic planning at The Eurasia Foundation in Washington, D.C. From 1991 to 1999, she held a number of positions directing technical assistance and research projects at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, including associate director of the Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project, director of the Project on Ethnic Conflict in the Former Soviet Union, and coordinator of the Trilateral Study on Japanese-Russian-U.S. Relations.

Hill holds a master’s in Soviet studies and a doctorate in history from Harvard University where she was a Frank Knox Fellow. She also holds a master’s in Russian and modern history from St. Andrews University in Scotland, and has pursued studies at Moscow’s Maurice Thorez Institute of Foreign Languages. Hill is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Watch a recording of the discussion

Past Fellows
Maria Ressa | March 2-3, 2020

Maria Ressa, an award-winning journalist, author, and activist, visited Yale March 2-3, 2020. She gave a public talk, “Journalism and Human Rights: Fighting Back Against Disinformation,” had lunch with Jackson graduate students, and sat for interviews with student reporters. Read more about the public talk

Ressa has been a journalist in Asia for more than 30 years. In 2012, she co-founded Rappler.com, now one of the leading online news organizations in the Philippines. Previously, Ressa was CNN’s bureau chief in Manila and Jakarta. Rappler’s reporting on the authoritarian administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has spurred repeated intimidation tactics by the Filipino government to discredit Ressa and the media outlet.

Ressa has been honored around the world for her work in fighting disinformation, fake news and attempts to silence the free press. In 2018, she was named TIME magazine’s “Person of the Year” and won the prestigious Golden Pen of Freedom Award from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers. She also received the 2018 Gwen Ifill Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. This year, Prospect magazine selected her as one of the world’s top 50 thinkers.

Gen. David Petraeus | February 18-19, 2020

Gen. David Petraeus, former commander of U.S. Central Command and director of the CIA, visited Yale February 18-19, 2020. He gave a public talk, “The Middle East in Crisis: A Role for America?” and served as a panelist for the conference, “The Kurds in Crisis,” which Jackson co-hosted with the nonprofit Justice for Kurds. Read more about the talk.

Petraeus joined KKR in June 2013 and is chairman of the KKR Global Institute, which supports KKR’s investment committees, portfolio companies, and investors with analysis of geopolitical and macro-economic trends, as well as environmental, social, and governance issues. He is also a member of the boards of directors of Optiv (cybersecurity) and OneStream (business software). Prior to joining KKR, Gen. Petraeus served over 37 years in the U.S. military, culminating his career with six consecutive commands, five of which were in combat, including command of coalition forces during the Surge in Iraq, command of U.S. Central Command, and command of coalition forces in Afghanistan. Following his service in the military, Gen. Petraeus served as the Director of the CIA during a period of significant achievements in the global war on terror.

Admiral James Stavridis | February 4-5, 2020

Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, visited Yale February 4-5, 2020. He visited classes and gave a public talk, “Challenges to American Military Power,” on February 4 to a standing-room-only crowd in Horchow Hall. Read more about the talk

Topics addressed in the talk included the tension between the U.S. and China over the South China Sea; the importance of the U.S. retaining its maritime resources and power; and the characteristics of great leaders. Stavridis also discussed his recently published book, “Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character.”

Stavridis attended the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, and spent 37 years in the Navy, rising to the rank of 4-star Admiral. Among his many commands were four years as the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, where he oversaw operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Balkans, and counter piracy off the coast of Africa.He was the longest serving Combatant Commander in recent US history. 

Staffan de Mistura | October 22-23, 2019

Staffan de Mistura, former Undersecretary General of the UN and Special Representative for Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, visited Yale October 22-23, 2019. During his time at Yale, de Mistura spoke in six Global Affairs classes and gave a public talk to a standing-room-only audience in Horchow Hall. Read more about his visit

Staffan de Mistura, former Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, served as Special Envoy for Syria of the United Nations Secretary-General from July 2014 to December 2018.  Prior to this assignment, he was the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq (2007-2009) and in Afghanistan (2010-2011), and Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister. During a career of over four decades with United Nations agencies, he served in numerous conflict zones, directing complex relief operations, food distributions and vaccination campaigns. In particular, he was posted in Sudan, Ethiopia, Albania, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Somalia.  He also held senior political and humanitarian assignments in Lebanon and Iraq, and served as Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme.  Mr. de Mistura is a national of Italy and Sweden. He speaks seven languages.