Philip Zelikow

White Burkett Miller Professor of History and J. Wilson Newman Professor of Governance

Fast Facts

  • Former Miller Center director
  • Executive Director of 9/11 Commission
  • Former State Department Counselor
  • Expertise in American foreign policy, military history, European military history, Cuban missile crisis

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • American Defense and Security
  • War and Terrorism
  • Domestic Affairs
  • Governance
  • Congress
  • Leadership
  • Politics
  • The Presidency

Philip Zelikow is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History and J. Wilson Newman Professor of Governance at the University of Virginia, where he has also served as dean of the Graduate School and director of the Miller Center. His scholarly work has focused on critical episodes in American and world history. 

He was a trial and appellate lawyer and then a career diplomat before taking academic positions at Harvard, then Virginia. Before and during his academic career, he has served at all levels of American government. His federal service during five administrations has included positions in the White House, State Department, and the Pentagon. His last full-time government position was as the counselor of the Department of State, a deputy to Secretary Condoleezza Rice. 

He directed a small and short-lived federal agency, the 9/11 Commission. He also directed an earlier bipartisan commission on election reform, chaired by former Presidents Carter and Ford, that led to successful passage of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. More recently he was managing director of “Rework America,” a landmark project on American economic opportunity in the digital age, organized by the Markle Foundation. 

He is one of the few individuals ever to serve on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Boards for presidents of both parties, in the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He has also been a member of the Defense Policy Board for Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and a member of the board of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Philip Zelikow News Feed

Evidence of criminal misconduct, specifically, the federal bribery statute, should influence political judgments about impeachment. After all, “Bribery” is one of the grounds for impeachment specifically enumerated in the Constitution.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Professor Phillip Zelikow of the University of Virginia Miller Center spoke at UVA Thursday about their experience in national security and their recently published book.
Philip Zelikow CBS19
Condoleezza Rice and UVA professor Philip Zelikow reflect on Cold War, 9/11, and what's ahead.
Caroline Newman
The anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks is in a sort of transition phase. The wounds are no longer fresh after 18 years, but the terrible day is not yet enshrined in the deep historical past. That makes it a good time to take stock of what’s been achieved in the fight against global terrorism, and what remains to be done. I can think of no better person to discuss this than Philip Zelikow. Now a professor of governance at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, Zelikow had a long career inside government, rising to counselor of the State Department under President George W. Bush. But he’s best known for his role as executive director of the federal 9/11 Commission, and thus is the primary author of the commission’s report on the attacks.
Philip Zelikow Bloomberg Opinion
American policymaking has declined over the past several decades, but it is something that can be regained. It is not ephemeral or lost to the mists of time. The skills needed to tackle public problem-solving are specific and cultural — and they are teachable.
Philip Zelikow Texas National Security Review
At the national level, “policy work is increasingly being done by people with no training in it, and who don’t care about it, because they’re drawn into national politics purely as culture warriors,” I was told by Philip Zelikow, of the University of Virginia, who worked as a national-security official for both Presidents Bush. “There’s a fiction that mass politics is about policy.”
Philip Zelikow The Atlantic