James A Leach

Title & Affiliation
Distinguished Fellow of Practice Politics and Policy Research Program

Jim Leach entered public service as a United States Foreign Service Officer where he was initially assigned to the Soviet Desk at the State Department and then served as a member of delegations to the Committee on Disarmament in Geneva and the United Nations in New York. Subsequently he returned to his home state of Iowa, which he represented for 30 years in Congress. While in the Congress Leach chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, the Arms Control and Foreign Policy caucus, and served as president of two national Republican organizations with a moderate bent -- the Ripon Society and the Republican Mainstream Committee – and the largest international association of legislators (Parliamentarians for Global Action). Upon leaving Congress Leach became a Professor at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton and Interim Director of the Institute of Politics and Lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School. During President Obama’s first term he served as the 9th Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Leach graduated with honors from Princeton, received an MA from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins, and did additional graduate studies at the London School of Economics. He holds 14 honorary degrees, has received decorations from two foreign governments, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Council on Foreign Relations, and formerly served as a trustee of Princeton University. Leach has served on the boards of a series of non-profit organizations, including the Century Foundation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Kettering Foundation, Pro Publica and Common Cause, which he briefly chaired.