Anderson, Lisa

Humanities Research Fellow Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
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Education: BA, Sara Lawrence College; MA, Fletcher School at Tufts University; PhD, Columbia University;


Dr. Anderson joined NYUAD, as a Senior Humanities Research Fellow, in fall 2016.

Lisa Anderson served as President of the American University in Cairo for five years, stepping down on January 1, 2016. Prior to her appointment as President, she was the University’s provost, a position she had assumed in 2008.

As AUC provost, Dr. Anderson helped manage the transfer of all the University’s degree programs to the new purpose-built campus in New Cairo and presided over the establishment of three new schools — the School of Business, School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and Graduate School of Education — and the University’s first PhD program, in Sciences and Engineering.

As AUC president, Dr. Anderson navigated through the most significant political upheavals in the University’s history, serving during the terms of four different Egyptian presidents, all the while ensuring that the academic programs continued to improve. At the end of her term, the University’s global ranking was better and applications were higher than ever before; Dr. Anderson raised four of the University’s five largest gifts, including a USD 14 million gift to support fellowships.

Dr. Anderson is Dean Emerita of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, where she led the school from 1997-2007. She was on the faculty of Columbia since 1986. Prior to her appointment as Dean, she served as Chair of the Political Science Department and Director of Columbia's Middle East Institute. She held the James T. Shotwell Chair in International Relations in the Political Science Department. Before coming to Columbia, she taught at Harvard University in the Government and Social Studies departments.

Dr. Anderson’s research has included work on state formation in the Middle East and North Africa; on regime change and democratization in developing countries; and on social science, academic research and public policy both in the United States and around the world. She is author of The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1830-1980 (1986), co-editor of The Origins of Arab Nationalism (1991), editor of Transitions to Democracy (1999) and author of Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power: Social Science and Public Policy in the Twenty-first Century (2003), as well as numerous scholarly articles.

Dr. Anderson served on the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch from 1988-2003; as the President of the Middle East Studies Association in 2003 and on the Council of the American Political Science Association from 2004-2006. She also served on the Board of Trustees of the American University in Cairo (2006-2008) and as Chair of the Board of the Social Science Research Council (1998-2008). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and Columbia University, where she earned her PhD in Political Science, Dr. Anderson received honorary doctorates from Monmouth University in 2002 and the American University of Paris in 2015.