Philip Zelikow

Faculty Senior Fellow

Fast Facts

  • Former Miller Center director
  • Executive Director, 9/11 Commission
  • Elected member, American Academy of Diplomacy
  • 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, faculty senior fellow, is the White Burkett Miller Emeritus Professor of History 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. In 2020, he was elected a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy.

Philip Zelikow News Feed

Leading up to the Miller Center’s 50th anniversary in 2025, this conference shares new ideas and best practices to support a more responsible and effective presidency.
Miller Center Presents
Russia has caused unprecedented damage in Ukraine. And with no diplomatic end in sight to the conflict, many Ukrainians are wondering when, if ever, they will be able to go back to their homes. According to many experts, the answer is actually sooner rather than later. Can reconstruction begin before a war ends? Who pays, and where should world leaders begin?
Philip Zelikow Council on Foreign Relations
The Covid Crisis Group, a panel of experts led by Philip D. Zelikow, a University of Virginia historian who ran the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks, says Congress and policymakers must view infectious disease threats through a national security lens.
Philip Zelikow The New York Times
“I know that the administration didn’t support it,” said Mr. Zelikow, referring to a national commission. “We decided that the window for political action might be closing. So we needed to proceed with our own report.”
Philip Zelikow The Wall Street Journal
To get a deeper sense of what they found and what they believe needs to be done to prevent a repeat, USA TODAY spoke with two of the COVID Crisis Group members: The book's primary author, Philip Zelikow, who also is the group's director and former 9/11 Commission executive director.
Philip Zelikow USA Today
Why the United States fared so badly during the pandemic, especially when compared to other similar nations, was supposed to be one of the many questions examined by a national COVID-19 commission. But that commission was never launched. William Brangham spoke with the co-author of a new report that hopes to start that reckoning.
Philip Zelikow PBS NewsHour