Isobel Coleman is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York, where she directs CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, & Democracy program. Her areas of expertise include the political economy of the Middle East, democratization, civil society, economic development, educational reform and gender issues. She is the author and coauthor of numerous books, including Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons from Democratic Transitions (Council on Foreign Relations, 2013), The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Security (Routledge Press, 2012), Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East (Random House, 2010), Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President (Brookings Institution Press, 2008), and Strategic Foreign Assistance: Civil Society in International Security (Hoover Institution Press, 2006).
Dr. Coleman’s writings have appeared in publications such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, and Forbes, and online venues such as TheAtlantic.com and CNN.com. She also writes the blog “Democracy in Development” on CFR.org. She is a frequent speaker at academic, business, and policy conferences. In 2010, she served as a track leader at the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2011, Newsweek named her as one of “150 Women Who Shake the World.”
Prior to joining the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Coleman was CEO of a healthcare services company and a partner with McKinsey & Co. in New York. A Marshall scholar, she holds a BA in public policy and East Asian studies from Princeton University and MPhil and DPhil degrees in international relations from Oxford University. She serves on several non-profit boards, including Plan USA, Student Sponsor Partners and the National Outdoor Leadership School.