Charles Hill

Photo of Charles Hill
Brady-Johnson Distinguished Fellow in Grand Strategy, Yale University

Charles Hill has had a distinguished career in the Foreign Service, in government, and as a lecturer. He is at present the Brady-Johnson Distinguished Fellow in Grand Strategy and lecturer in International Studies at Yale University, as well as a research fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

After receiving his B.A. from Brown University, and an M.A. and law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Hill went on to become a career diplomat. Along the way, he was both a witness and a maker of history. He became a political officer in the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong just as Mao Tse-Tung's cultural revolution was beginning. He then moved on to the American Embassy in Saigon, where he served as mission coordinator during the climactic period of the Vietnam War (1970-73). Returning to Washington to be on the staff of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, he became involved in the Panama Canal Treaty negotiations. During the Carter Administration, Mr. Hill focused his attention on the Middle East, including a period as Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, where he played a significant role in the development of the Camp David accords.

In 1982, Mr. Hill returned to Washington, where he served in a variety of positions for Secretary of State George P. Schultz, including as his executive assistant. During this period, he was instrumental in developing a relationship with the Soviet Union (and Mikhail S. Gorbachev), which ultimately produced major reductions in nuclear arms and an end to the Cold War. After retiring from the Foreign Service in 1989, Mr. Hill became assistant secretary-general of the United Nations, working closely with Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on policy issues, as well as on the Secretary-General's writings.

Since 1992, Mr. Hill has been affiliated with Yale University. Together with Paul Kennedy and John Lewis Gaddis, he has created and regularly teaches a year-long Grand Strategy seminar that combines the study of classic texts and international relations with internships in international agencies and completion of policy briefs on complex geo-political topics. Mr. Hill's seminar has become a model for training in international politics, with West Point, Duke, and other universities developing their own versions of this innovative course.

Mr. Hill is editor of the three-volume The Papers of United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Yale University Press 2003). He is also the author of Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order (Yale University Press 2010) and Trial of a Thousand Years: World Order and Islamism (Hoover Institution Press 2011).

Among other awards in recognition of his outstanding public service, Charles Hill has received the Superior Honor Award of the Department of State (1973, 1981), the Presidential Meritorious Service Award (1986), and the Presidential Distinguished Service Award (1987, 1989).