Meghan O’Sullivan

Senior Advisor

Former Special Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan

Meghan L. O’Sullivan is a Senior Advisor at WestExec Advisors and the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and Director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. Her expertise includes the geopolitics of energy, American foreign policy, conflict resolution, nation-building, and the Middle East. She is an award-winning author and her third book, Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America’s Power, was published by Simon & Schuster in September 2017.

From July 2013-December 2013, she served as the vice chair of the All Party Talks in Northern Ireland, which sought to resolve on-going obstacles to peace. Between 2004 and 2007, she was special assistant to President George W. Bush and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan during the last two years of her tenure. There, she helped run two strategic policy reviews: one on Afghanistan in the summer of 2006 and one on Iraq in late 2006 and early 2007, which led to the “surge” strategy. She spent two years in Iraq, most recently in the fall of 2008, to help conclude the security agreement and strategic framework agreement between the United States and Iraq.  Prior to this, Meghan was senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia in the NSC, political advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority administrator and deputy director for governance in Baghdad, chief advisor to the presidential envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process, and a fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Meghan is the Chair of the North American Group of the Trilateral Commission.  She is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations and a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. She is on the board of United Technologies, is a consultant to energy companies, and is a member of the International Advisory Group for the British law firm, Linklaters.  She is a trustee of both the German Marshall Fund and the Friends of Inter Mediate, a UK-based non-profit focused on the most complex and dangerous world conflicts.  She is a member of the board of The Mission Continues, a non-profit organization to help veterans; a member of the Aspen Strategy Group; and on the advisory committee for the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute.

Meghan has published several books and many articles on American foreign policy, including Shrewd Sanctions: Statecraft and State Sponsors of Terrorism (2003) and edited volume (with Richard Haass) Honey and Vinegar: Incentives, Sanctions, and Foreign Policy (2000).

Meghan was a Henry Crown Fellow from 2015-2017 and a Henry Luce Fellow from 1991-1992. She has been awarded the Defense Department’s highest honor for civilians and, three times, the State Department’s Superior Honor Award. She has a B.A. from Georgetown University and a master’s and doctorate from Oxford University.