Public Agenda
Mitchel Wallerstein Chairman, Executive Committee

Mitchel Wallerstein, president of Baruch College at the City University of New York, has worked closely with Public Agenda for many years. From 2003 until 2010, he was dean of Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, which is the co-sponsor of our Policy Breakfast lecture series.

Prior to that, Dr. Wallerstein was vice president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of the world's ten largest philanthropic organizations, with assets of nearly $7 billion. He directed the foundation's international grant-making division, known as the Program on Global Security and Sustainability (GSS).

From 1993 until 1997, he served as deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counterproliferation Policy, the first presidential appointee in this position, and as Senior Representative for Trade Security Policy. In the former capacity, he developed and implemented policies and programs to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and their means of delivery and worked to assure that the U.S. military would be better prepared to deal with such threats in the future. In the latter capacity, he was responsible for defense policy regarding the problem of protecting sensitive technology.

Dr. Wallerstein participated in a number of international negotiations on the design of national security export controls in the post-Cold War era. During his tenure at the Department of Defense, Dr. Wallerstein helped to found and subsequently co-chaired the Senior Defense Group on Proliferation at NATO. In January 1997, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, and he received the Bronze Palm to that award in April 1998.

Prior to his service in the U.S. government, Dean Wallerstein was the deputy executive officer of the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, which is a private, non-profit organization in Washington that undertakes science and technology policy studies for and provides advice to the executive branch and Congress. While at the NRC, he also directed a series of highly acclaimed studies for the U.S. government on various other national security issues.

Dr. Wallerstein’s previous full-time academic career includes five years on the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as an earlier tenure-track appointment in the political science department at Holy Cross College. From 1985-1989 he was an adjunct professor in the graduate program in science, technology and public policy at George Washington University; from 1987-1993 he served in a similar capacity at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University; and from 1992-1997 he was an adjunct professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University.

Immediately prior to joining the MacArthur Foundation, in 1998, Dr. Wallerstein held an appointment as Distinguished Research Professor at the National Defense University in Washington. He is the author of numerous books, articles, monographs and other publications. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.