Jessica Tuchman Mathews

Distinguished Fellow tel +1 202 939 2210 fax +1 202 332 0925
Mathews is a distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She served as Carnegie’s president for 18 years.


PhD, California Institute of Technology
AB, Radcliffe College




Jessica Tuchman Mathews is a distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She served as Carnegie’s president for 18 years. Before her appointment in 1997, her career included posts in both the executive and legislative branches of government, in management and research in the nonprofit arena, and in journalism and science policy.

She was director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Washington program and a senior fellow from 1994 to 1997. While there she published her seminal 1997 Foreign Affairs article, “Power Shift,” chosen by the editors as one of the most influential in the journal’s seventy-five years.

From 1982 to 1993, she was founding vice president and director of research of the World Resources Institute, an internationally known center for policy research on environmental and natural resource management issues.

She served on the Editorial Board of the Washington Post from 1980 to 1982, covering arms control, energy, environment, science, and technology. Later, Mathews wrote a popular weekly column for the Washington Post that appeared nationwide and in the International Herald Tribune.

From 1977 to 1979, she was director of the Office of Global Issues at the National Security Council, covering nuclear proliferation, conventional arms sales, and human rights. In 1993, she returned to government as deputy to the undersecretary of state for global affairs. Earlier, she served on the staff of the Committee on Energy and the Environment of the Interior Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Mathews is a member of the Harvard Corporation, the senior governing board of Harvard University. She has served as a trustee of leading national and international nonprofits, including the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Radcliffe College, the Inter-American Dialogue (co-vice chair), four foundations (the Rockefeller Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Century Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation), and the Brookings Institution. She co-founded the Surface Transportation Policy Project, has served on study groups at the National Academy of Sciences, and is an elected fellow of the American Philosophical Society. Since 2001 she has served as a director of SomaLogic, a leading biotech firm in the breakthrough field of proteomics. She is also a director of HanesBrands Inc. and a member of the governing board of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Mathews has published widely in newspapers and in foreign policy and scientific journals, and has co-authored and co-edited three books. She holds a PhD in molecular biology from the California Institute of Technology and graduated magna cum laude from Radcliffe College.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Affairs September 17, 2021
    American Power After Afghanistan

    Still, these shifts would amount to a dramatic alteration in U.S. practice since the end of the Cold War. America would no longer see itself as “the cop walking a global beat,” as neoconservatives would have it, nor would it shrink its core interests to defense against threats from China and Russia, as some realists have proposed.

  • New York Review of Books May 5, 2021
    Losing No Time

    A profound global change shapes the foreign policy of the Biden administration. The United States’ global reputation as unquestionably the greatest power, with a thriving democracy and an economy envied by all, is now gone.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Affairs February 18, 2021
    Present At the Re-Creation?

    Throughout the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign, Biden asserted that under his leadership, the United States would be “back at the head of the table.” But a return to the pre-Trump status quo is not possible.

  • The New Nuclear Threat
    Op-Ed New York Review of Books August 3, 2020
    The New Nuclear Threat

    The cold war ended peacefully, and the deployed nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Russia have been reduced by nearly 90 percent, but we are not safer today—quite the reverse.

  • Democratic candidates
    Op-Ed New York Review of Books January 24, 2020
    Do the Democrats Have a Foreign Policy?

    Notwithstanding the Democratic candidates’ relative silence on foreign policy thus far, the next president will likely have to make international decisions of historic significance. It is important that they say more about how they would approach them before a nominee is chosen.

  • Defense Spending is Not More Important Than Investing in the People
    Op-Ed Washington Post August 5, 2019
    Defense Spending is Not More Important Than Investing in the People

    Of all federal spending other than the mandatory allotments to entitlements and interest on the national debt, discretionary spending is everything else the government does.

  • America’s Indefensible Defense Budget
    New York Review of Books June 27, 2019
    America’s Indefensible Defense Budget

    The sheer size of the military establishment and the habit of equating spending on it with patriotism make both sound management and serious oversight of defense expenditures rare.

  • What Happened in Hanoi?
    Op-Ed New York Review of Books April 1, 2019
    What Happened in Hanoi?

    Shortly after the success of The Art of the Deal (1987) made Donald Trump a supposed expert on negotiation, he lobbied the George H.W. Bush administration to put him in charge of arms reduction talks with the Soviet Union.

  • Singapore Sham
    Op-Ed New York Review of Books July 31, 2018
    Singapore Sham

    Setting aside the unforced errors of the Singapore meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, this attempt to roll back North Korea’s nuclear program invites a rethinking of U.S. strategy.

  • Jaw-Jaw Better Than War-War
    New York Review of Books April 20, 2018
    Jaw-Jaw Better Than War-War

    It is uncertain at best whether a Trump–Kim meeting will actually take place. If one does, the central issue will be the huge discrepancy between what the United States and the North Koreans mean by the phrase “committed to denuclearization.”

  • Washington October 18, 2001
    Managing Global Issues: Lessons Learned

    This volume identifies the successes and failures of international and transnational governance and provides the basis for a broad comparative analysis across problem areas.

  • March 9, 2021 Live Online
    U.S. Foreign Policy: Priorities and Strategies

    The Biden administration is beginning to chart its own course for U.S. foreign policy. How does Washington intend to deal with an increasingly powerful and influential China while avoiding a direct collision with Beijing? What will the strategy for containing Russia entail? Carnegie Moscow Center organizes a virtual discussion to explore these issues and more.

  • Pricing Oil for a Safe Climate
    June 15, 2016 Washington, DC
    Pricing Oil for a Safe Climate

    For the first time, it is possible to estimate the value and profile of GHG emissions from oils throughout their supply chain using an Oil-Climate Index. This allows for the replacement of blunt tax designs with a smart tax that captures oil’s total emissions with minimal economic cost and maximum efficiency.

  • April 13, 2015 Washington, DC
    The Future of the Deal

    In this panel, the participants discussed the technical aspects of the framework deal that was signed in the beginning of April.

  • April 13, 2015 Washington, DC
    The Iran Nuclear Deal

    What are the short and long-term obstacles to finalizing and sustaining a nuclear deal with Iran, and how would a U.S.-Iran nuclear détente impact ongoing conflicts and long-standing alliances in the Middle East?

  • January 28, 2015 Washington DC
    Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide

    Although the issue of what most of the world calls the Armenian Genocide of 1915 is now a century old, it is still a live and divisive issue that mobilizes Armenians across the world, shapes the identity and politics of modern Turkey, and has consumed the attention of U.S. politicians for years.

  • December 10, 2014 Washington, DC 中文
    New EU Ambassador in Conversation With Jessica T. Mathews

    In his first major public event since becoming EU ambassador, David O’Sullivan offered his perspective on the many common challenges shared by the European Union and the United States.

  • December 2, 2014 Washington, DC
    Prospects for China U.S. Cooperation on Oil and Its Impacts

    China and the United States have multiple fronts for cooperation, including trading technology, the role of their navies in the international oil trade, domestic energy security, climate change issues, and dealing with other actors such as Afghanistan and Iran.

  • December 2, 2014 Washington, DC 中文
    China Oil Forum

    With China’s economy slowing after decades of double-digit growth, now is the time to think strategically about how the nation will deal with its physical resource limitations, their associated environmental concerns, and oil’s evolving geopolitical realities. The China Oil Forum will engage key thinkers, policymakers, and civil society in a discussion about these strategic questions.

  • European Union
    November 20, 2014 Brussels, Silken Berlaymont Brussels Hotel
    A New Ambition for Europe

    With a new EU foreign policy high representative coming into office, it is high time for the EU to become the strategic actor it has set out to be.

  • October 29, 2014 Washington, DC
    U.S. Policy and the Islamic State

    Deputy national security adviser Antony Blinken delivered remarks on the U.S. policy to degrade and destroy the Islamic State and the political, security, and humanitarian crisis in Iraq and the Levant.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20036-2103 Phone: 202 483 7600 Fax: 202 483 1840
Please note...

You are leaving the website for the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy and entering a website for another of Carnegie's global centers.