Karl Eikenberry joins Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies


In Helmand with Ching2x1
Eikenberry in Helmand, Afghanistan, with wife, Ching.
Photo credit: 
Courtesy Karl Eikenberry

The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University is pleased to welcome Karl Eikenberry as the 2011 Payne Distinguished Lecturer. 

Eikenberry comes to Stanford from the U.S. State Department, where he served between May 2009 and July 2011 as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. In that role, he led the civilian surge directed by President Obama to reverse insurgent momentum and set the conditions for transition to full Afghan sovereignty. Earlier, he had a 35-year career in the U.S. Army, retiring in April 2009 with the rank of lieutenant general.

“I am delighted that he has joined us,” says Coit D. Blacker, FSI’s director and the Olivier Nomellini Professor in International Studies. “Karl Eikenberry’s international reputation, vast experience, and on-the-ground understanding of military strategy, diplomacy, and the policy decision-making process will be an enormous contribution to FSI and Stanford and are deeply consistent with the goals of the Payne Lectureship.”

Eikenberry is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, and has master’s degrees from Harvard University in East Asian Studies and from Stanford University in Political Science. He was also a National Security Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and he earned an Interpreter’s Certificate in Mandarin Chinese from the British Foreign Commonwealth Office while studying at the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense Chinese Language School in Hong Kong. He has an Advanced Degree in Chinese History from Nanjing University in the People’s Republic of China.

"Karl Eikenberry first came to Stanford as a graduate student in the Political Science Department in the mid-1990s, and we are extraordinarily happy to have him back," says Stephen D. Krasner, deputy director at FSI and Graham H. Stuart Professor of International Relations. "He has an exceptional, actually unique, set of experiences and talents that will greatly enrich the intellectual community at FSI and throughout the university."

Eikenberry's work in Afghanistan includes an 18-month tour as commander of the U.S.-led coalition forces. He has also served in various strategy, policy, and political-military positions, including deputy chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military committee in Brussels, and director for strategic planning and policy for U.S. Pacific Command.

His military operational posts included service as commander and staff officer with mechanized, light, airborne, and ranger infantry units in the continental United States, Hawaii, Korea, and Italy. His military awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished and Superior Service Medals, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Ranger Tab, Combat and Expert Infantryman badges, and master parachutist wings.

Eikenberry has also published numerous articles on U.S. military training, tactics, and strategy, on Chinese ancient military history, and on Asia-Pacific security issues. He was previously the president of the Foreign Area Officers Association and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

At Stanford, Eikenberry will also be an affiliated faculty member at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) and at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL).

He will deliver this year's inaugural Payne Distinguished Lecture on Oct. 3 at the Cemex Auditorium at the Knight Management Center. The public address will be given in conjunction with a private, two-day conference that will bring to Stanford an international group of political scientists, economists, lawyers, policy-makers, and military experts to examine from a comparative perspective problems of violence, organized crime, and governance in Mexico.