About Rachel

Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld advises governments, philanthropists, and activists on how democracies make major social change.

Raised in a log house on a dirt road in Fairbanks, Alaska, Rachel received her BA from Yale University and her M. Phil and D. Phil at Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

As a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Rachel is a leading expert on how democracies – including the United States – can improve, with a particular focus on countries facing poor leadership, polarized populations, violence, and corruption.

Kleinfeld’s work focuses on the intersection of democracy and security. She regularly briefs the governments of the United States and allied democracies on issues of policing, security sector reform, the rule of law, and improving conflict, and she has also consulted for international organizations such as the European Union, OECD, and World Bank. She serves on the United Nations’ Security Sector Reform Advisory Group, and is a fellow of the Halifax International Security Forum, an annual meeting of the Ministers of Defense and political leadership of democratic countries, where she previously served on the agenda committee.  In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed Kleinfeld to the Foreign Affairs Policy Board, where she briefed the Secretary quarterly on issues of foreign policy and security alongside approximately 25 other outside experts such as the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, business leaders, and former Members of Congress. She served in that role through 2014.

Kleinfeld serves on the Boards of the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, and States United for Democracy and on the advisory board of Protect Democracy. She is a senior advisor to the Democracy Funders Network and is a member of the National Task Force on Election Crises in the United States.

Prior to joining Carnegie, Kleinfeld spent a decade co-founding and directing the Truman National Security Project, for which Time magazine named her one of the top 40 political leaders under 40 in America. Under her leadership, the Truman Project fostered a new generation of military veterans and national security leaders to advance policies that would enhance global security, democracy, and human dignity.

Kleinfeld is the author of three books, and she appears regularly on the media, from NPR’s On Point to Fox and Friends. Her TED talk on improving violent democracies has been translated into 17 languages and viewed over a million times.

Rachel lives with her husband, a sculptor, and their two wonderful, fierce, daughters.