Ambassador Cynthia P. Schneider, Ph.D.

Ambassador Cynthia P. Schneider, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy
Co-Director, Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics
Georgetown University
Co-Director, MOST (Muslims on Screen and Television) Resource 
Co-Director, Timbuktu Renaissance
Senior Non Resident Fellow, Brookings Institution
Mailing address: 17201 Norwood Rd., Sandy Spring, MD 20860
301 706 9260 (cell)


GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, Washington D.C 2004 - present
Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, School of Foreign Service

  • Developed courses, “Diplomacy and Culture” (CULP 220) and “Diplomacy and Culture: Global Performance, Film and Media”, co-taught with Prof. Derek Goldman.  Courses incorporate Soliya online program with weekly discussions with students in Europe and the Middle East.
  • With Prof. Derek Goldman (Artistic Director, Davis Performing Arts Center and Professor of Theater and Performance Studies) have co-founded The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics (The Lab), which bridges international politics and performance – two strengths at Georgetown – to develop new inter-disciplinary approaches to studying, and to increasing understanding of peoples, cultures, and politics across the globe.
  • Organize public cultural events for Georgetown community (Salman Ahmad of Junoon, Pakistani rock musician; Afghan Star: Singing, Voting, Defying the Taliban; Dean Obeidallah (stand up comedian), and others).


  • Founding Co-Director of Malian-American interdisciplinary initiative to foster reconciliation, unity, and economic development and peace in Mali through a focus on culture. Launched as the Action Group of the Brookings Institution’s 2014 US-Islamic World Forum.


  • Teach MA and BA level courses in Diplomacy and Cultural Diplomacy

Dean of the School of Diplomacy

  • Half-time position: advised on development of curriculum, programs, standards for degree
  • Faculty development
  • Taught courses in and develop projects in diplomacy, especially diplomacy and culture (invited to continue teaching in 2014)

Adjunct Professor

  • Taught Master Class and gave public lectures at Crawford School of Public Policy


Senior Non-Resident Fellow; Coordinator, Arts and Culture Dialogue Initiative, 2006 - present

  • Have developed program and projects that represent a unique blend of policy and the arts in the area of U.S. relations with the Muslim world. Since 2006, have built up a network of over 50 organizations and over 100 leaders in arts and culture engaged in leveraging potential of cultural connections to increase understanding on both sides.
  • Published Mightier than the Sword: Arts and Culture in the U.S- Muslim World Relationship; New Way Forward: Encouraging Greater Cultural Engagement with the Muslim World (

MOST RESOURCE CENTER, Los Angeles, Co-Founder and Co-Director, Muslims on Screen and Television (MOST): A Cross Cultural Resource Center (, 2008 - present.

  • Developed out of the Brookings Arts and Culture Initiative, MOST provides television and film writers, producers, and show runners information and resources about Muslims, Islam, and Muslim majority regions with the goal of facilitating more accurate plots and characters. MOST also convenes discussions and events that explore intersections between policy and media and entertainment.


  • Consultant on development of global cultural diplomacy initiative, February-September, 2010

Director, Life Science and Society Initiative (LSSI); Pfizer Medical Humanities Fellow, 2004-2006

  • Initiated program to pool and strengthen Georgetown’s resources in the science, ethics, policy, law, and international dimensions of the life sciences to address for the public and the Congress the challenges of the integration of the life sciences into daily life.
  • Principle Investigator on a project funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to research and define “Best Practices” in public-private partnerships for agricultural biotechnology in the developing world.

Associate Professor of Art History, 1990-2004
Assistant Professor of Art History, 1984-1990

  • Courses, publications, and exhibitions in Baroque and Renaissance art, with a specialization in Dutch art of the seventeenth century and Rembrandt. Organized exhibition of Rembrandt’s landscape drawings and prints that was held at the National Gallery of Art in 1990; published monograph on Rembrandt’s landscapes with Yale University Press, as well as other books and articles on seventeenth century Dutch art.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington D.C., 1998-2001

  • Ambassador of the United States of America to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Initiatives in public and cultural diplomacy, biotechnology, cyber security, military affairs, and education, as well as work in international justice and the environment. Selected examples:
    • Public and Cultural Diplomacy: White House Millennium Project of oral histories by Dutch high school students of World War II veterans and survivors, published on CD and distributed throughout Dutch school system; Partnership with North Sea Jazz Festival and annual North Sea Jazz Jam session at the American Embassy; Assembled museum-quality collection of American art, and published catalogue of the collection Another Salute
    • Biotechnology: Organized and hosted a two day conference “Biotechnology: the Science and the Impact” (January 2000, 450 attendees, 80 press and media) which is credited with fostering a positive climate for biotechnology in The Netherlands.
    • Cyber-security: co-hosted with Royal Dutch Shell and the Rand Corporation a conference on cyber security that brought together U.S. and EU officials and private sector experts to examine their respective roles and responsibilities in addressing this problem.
    • Kyoto Protocol and Climate Change: hosted US delegation of over 100 to the COP-6 Climate Change Conference in The Hague in November 2000.
    • International Justice: responsible for US cooperation with and assistance to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY); acted as a liaison between the US government (State Department, White House, and FBI), the Tribunal, the Dutch government and NATO; top U.S. official in the Netherlands responsible for the Lockerbie trial of the two Libyans accused of bombing Pan Am 103.
    • Political/Military: Liaison between the Dutch and American military in coordinating with the Dutch before and during the Kosovo war. Groundwork towards successful sale of Joint Strike Fighter to Dutch.
    • Speeches on wide range of topics including the global economy, biotechnology, Dutch American relations, the glass ceiling, politics and culture in America, and traditions of freedom and democracy in America and in Europe. Was the first American to be invited to give the keynote address on the annual Dutch commemoration of the liberation from the Nazis (May 5, 2000, “Freedom Must be Passed On”) and the first non-Dutch speaker to deliver the annual William of Orange lecture (June 5, 2001, “Culture, Society, and Government”.

Assistant Curator of European Paintings


Harvard University Ph.D. in Fine Arts, 1984
Harvard University BA Magna cum Laude in Fine Arts, 1977  


  • Office of the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Public Service Award, June 2001 (highest civilian award given by Pentagon, in recognition of support for the U.S. military during ambassadorship).
  • Flevo Award, 2001 (awarded annually by the Province of Flevoland, the Netherlands) in recognition of international leadership.
  • U.S. Secret Service, Department of the Treasury, Honor Award, June 2001.
  • Honorary Member, Phi Beta Kappa (Harvard University chapter).


  • University of Southern California, Center on Public Diplomacy, Senior Research Fellow, 2009-2011.
  • Pfizer Medical Humanities Fellow, Georgetown University, 2004-2006.


Wesley Theological Seminary; Imagine Schools; the Sustainable Preservation Initiative (SPI); PRE, Peace Research Endowment of PRIO (Peace Research Institute of Oslo); Search for Common Ground, Middle East Advisory Board



  • Biotechnology: the Science and the Impact, proceedings of the conference of that name, held in The Hague, January 2000, published in The Journal of BioLaw and Business. Organized conference wrote Introduction and Conclusion.
  • Another Salute: American Art in the Residence of the Ambassador of the United States of America to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with Claire van Cleave, Art in Embassies Program, The Hague, 2000.
  • Rembrandt's Landscapes, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1990. The book presents a new assessment of Rembrandt’s achievement and development as a landscape painter.
  • Rembrandt's Landscapes: Drawings and Prints, Exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 1990. Catalogue accompanying international loan exhibition of one hundred works, organized and selected by me.
  • With John Walsh, Jr., A Mirror of Nature: Dutch Paintings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Edward William Carter, exhibition catalogue, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1981. New expanded edition published 1992 by Cross River Press.
    Art History Articles
  • Essay on Rembrandt’s landscapes in the catalogue Rembrandt’s Landscapes (Leiden, 2006) of an exhibition commemorating the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt’s birth.
  • Articles on Rembrandt and Dutch art published in journals and exhibition catalogues in the Netherlands, Sweden, France, and the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s.

Invited to speak on a wide range of topics including public and cultural diplomacy, U.S. and Muslim world relations, U.S. European relations, various aspects of the life sciences, and women in the workplace.

Public and Cultural Diplomacy (selected):

  • Washington DC, World Bank, “Timbuktu Renaissance: The Role ofCulture in Securing Mali’s Peace and Prosperity”, Fragility, Conflict, and Violence Forum,  March 3, 2016.
  • Washington DC, MidAtlantic TEDx,  “Extremists Get why Culture Matters; Why Don’t We?”, September 24, 2015,
  • New York, International Economic Alliance, “Culture and CVE”,September 28-29, 2015.
  • Canberra, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, “Harnessing Culture for Peace”, “Big Picture Policy Forum, February, 2015.
  • Perth, Western Australia University and Department of Culture and Arts, Cultural Diplomacy workshop, February 2015.
  • Tokyo, World Sports Values Summit for Peace, “The Humanizing Power of Arts, Culture, and Sports”, July 19, 2013.
  • Institute of Cultural Diplomacy (ICD), “Culture as a Tipping Point, Washington DC, June 27, 2013 (and multiple talks at ICD Berlin,
  • Doha, U.S.-Islamic World Forum, organizer and moderator of plenary session, “Politics Demonizes, Culture Humanizes: Arts, Conflict, and Security”, June 10, 2013,
  • Lysoen Revisited: 15 Years of Human Security,  “Culture and Conflict”, Bergen, Norway, May 15, 2013,
  • University of Oklahoma, “Arts, Culture, and International Affairs: Cultural Diplomacy Then and Now “, March 1, 2013.
  • Georgetown University, TEDx, September 30, 2012, “The Power of Soft Power”, September 30, 2012,, final talk of session two, starts at 1:17:00
  • Singapore, Lew Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, July 30, 2012, Cultural Diplomacy for the 21st Century”,
  • Sydney, Australia, Lowy Institute, “Cultural Diplomacy for the 21st Century: Re-Assessing the Hard Power/Soft Power Balance”, July 27, 2012.
  • Wellington New Zealand, “The Arab Spring, Soft Power, and Twenty-First Century Diplomacy”, Victoria University, July 25, 2012. 
  • Canberra, Australia, Australian National University (ANU), Crawford School of Public Policy, Master Class, “Soft Power in the Arab Spring Context”, July 18, 2012.
  • Canberra, Australia, Australian National University (ANU), Crawford School of Public Policy, “How American Idol Can Change the World”, July 16, 2012.
  • Doha, U.S.-Islamic World Forum, organizer and moderator, plenary panel, “Arts and Culture”, May 30, 2012,
  • Australian Consulate, New York,  “Cultural Diplomacy and Conflict, Revolution, and Transformation in the Middle East and Southeast Asia”, March 5, 2012,
  • Dubai, BOLDtalks, February 25, 2012, “You Can Crush the Flowers, but It Won’t Stop the Spring: Arts, Culture, and Media and the Arab Spirit”,
  • “You Can Crush the Flowers, but It Won’t Stop the Spring: Arts, Culture, and Media and the Arab Spring”, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin, December 15, 2011 and Peace Research Institute of Oslo, December 7, 2011.
  • “The ‘Heart and Mind’ of Diplomacy:  Strategies for the Future of Cultural Diplomacy”, May 17, 2011, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague (
  • “The Artists Knew: Culture at the Core of Politics and Diplomacy”, International Conference of Artists and Cultural Leaders convened at NYU (New York University) Abu Dhabi by Anna Deavere Smith, April 21, 2011, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
  • “The “Heart and Mind’ of Diplomacy: Cultural Diplomacy,” NYU Abu Dhabi, March 13, 2011.
  • “Women in Film”, The Circle Conference, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, October 2010, panel participant.
  • Afghanistan: Beyond the Headlines”, September 19, 2010, British Council, Shakespeare Theater, Washington DC.
  • “New Beginnings: Initiatives in Culture, Education, and Science and Technology”, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt, June 16-18, 2010. Organized culture component of the conference, and moderated keynote panel on arts and cultural initiatives.
  • “How Cultural Diplomacy is Relevant to Contemporary Security Challenges.” Keynote speech at the conference “Cultural Diplomacy and Security Stakeholders Conference”, Sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the U.S. Diplomacy Center, and the National Intelligence Council, June 24, 2010. Available Online
  • Contested Identities in Pakistan: The Role of Culture and Civil Society”, Moderator and organizer, Brookings Institution, April 9, 2010,
  • “Reinvention: Iraqi Contemporary Art & Culture in a Post Conflict”, moderator, Post-War Art and Culture Festival, Red Jail, Sulaimanyah, Iraqi- Kurdistan, November 9, 2009.       
  • “WHAM! BAM! ISLAM! and THE 99: Popular Culture, Superheroes and the Contested Identity of Islam”, introductory remarks and organizer, Oct. 14, 2009, Brookings Institution. Speakers: Naif al-Mutawa, Chairman, Teshkeel Media and Creator of “The 99” and Isaac Solaratoff, film maker, and moderated by Shibley Telhami (October 14, 2009).
  • “Media as Global Diplomat II: New Findings on the Science of Media and Conflict”, moderator, United States Institute of Peace, October 1, 2009.
  • The Surprising Impact of Idol TV”, TED Global Conference, Oxford, England, July 21, 2009.
  • Afghan Star: the Impact of Independent Media in Afghanistan, June 12, 2009, Brookings Institution”. Panelists: Saad Mohseni (CEO Moby Media and Tolo TV), Jared Cohen (Policy Planning, Department of State), and Vikram Singh (Advisor to Richard Holbrooke), introduced and organized by Cynthia P. Schneider and moderated by David Ignatius (Associate Editor and columnist, Washington Post), June 12, 2009.
  • “Creative Expression and its Impact on Society in the Arab World”, in conjunction with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, March 6, 2009, Brookings Institution. Introductory remarks and organizer; Tamara Wittes, moderator.
  • “Muslims on Screen and Television (MOST): Challenging Stereotypes and Increasing Understanding”, moderated panel discussion, Middle East International Film Festival, Abu Dhabi, Oct. 18, 2008.
  • “Challenging Stereotypes and Breaking Barriers: the Role of Arts and Culture in the U.S. – Muslim World Relationship”, Brookings Institution, Doha Center, Oct.19, 2008.
  • “Mightier than the Sword: Arts and Culture in the U.S.-Muslim World Relationship”, policy discussions plus arts performances, Brookings Institution (Oct. 6, 2008) and the Asia Society, New York (Oct. 22, 2008).
  • “Media as a Cultural Bridge”, Paley Center For Media International Council, London, June 23, 2008.
  • “Bridging the Gap: the Relationship between Cultural Diplomacy, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Socially Responsible Investment”, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin, Deutsche Bank, June 24, 2008.
  • “Challenges of U.S. Cultural Diplomacy Today”, Fifth Pan-European International Relations Conference, The Hague, Sept. 10, 2004.
  • “From Monticello to Mulan: Communicating Values through Culture”, Smith College, October 27, 2003.
  • “Communicating with the World: Diplomacy that Works “, Fort Bragg, Regional Studies, May 20, 2003.
  • “Explaining America: Ideas and Icons from Thomas Jefferson to Walt Disney”, University of Virginia, Forum for Contemporary Thought, March 12, 2003.

Biotechnology and Science Policy

  • Talks at the BioVision conference, held alternately in Lyons France and Alexandria, Egypt annually from 2003-2008. Speaker also at the “Women in Science” conference in Alexandria, Egypt, October, 2007 and “Bioagenda” conferences in Palm Springs and Washington DC, 2005 and 2006.

Art History

  • Talks on Rembrandt, Vermeer, and other aspects of Dutch Baroque art in various locations in the U.S. (Los Angeles, Birmingham, Ala., New York, Washington DC and others) and Europe (the Netherlands, Stockholm, Paris) in the 1980s and 1990s.