Michael McFaul is professor of political science, director and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1995. He is also an analyst for NBC News and a contributing columnist to The Washington Post.
Dr. McFaul served for five years in the Obama administration, first as special assistant to the president and senior director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House (2009-2012), and then as U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation (2012-2014). He has authored several books, including Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should, How We Can; with Kathryn Stoner, Transitions To Democracy: A Comparative Perspective; with James Goldgeier, Power and Purpose: American Policy toward Russia after the Cold War; and Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin.
His current research interests include American foreign policy, great power relations, and the relationship between democracy and development. He received his BA in international relations and Slavic languages and his MA in Soviet and East European studies from Stanford University in 1986. As a Rhodes Scholar, he completed his DPhil in international relations at Oxford University in 1991.