Michael McFaul served as the U.S. Ambassador to Russia for two years prior to his resignation in February 2014. Before this, he served for three years as the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council. Dr. McFaul is the architect of President Obama's 'reset' foreign policy initiative with Russia, which aimed to ease U.S-Russian relations. While Dr. McFaul served as ambassador, U.S.-Russian relations were complicated by Russia's expulsion of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Russia's ban on adoptions by Americans, and Russia providing a haven to Edward Snowden. Dr. McFaul has recently made numerous media appearances in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea. According to McFaul, this marks "the end of the post-Cold War era."
Currently, Dr. McFaul is a professor of political science at Stanford University. His academic areas of expertise include democracy promotion, comparative democratization, and the relationship between political and economic reform in the post communist world. He contributed as an author and editor to numerous publications, such as Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should and How We Can (2009), Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Postcommunist World (2009), and Revolution in Orange: The Origins of Ukraine's Democratic Breakthrough (2006).
Dr. McFaul was born and raised in Montana. He received his B.A. in International Relations and Slavic Languages and his M.A. in Slavic and East European Studies from Stanford University in 1986. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford where he completed his Ph.D. in International Relations in 1991.
Ambassador Michael McFaul's lecture inaugurates the Athenaeum Series on Diplomacy and International Security in Honor of George F. Kennan, established through a generous gift from Craig and Valerie Richardson P '15.