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Alexander Bick

Research Scholar


Alexander Bick is a Research Scholar at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. A trained historian, he has nearly two decades experience in international affairs and national security policy. He served in the Obama administration as director for Syria at the National Security Council, where he played a lead role developing and coordinating the U.S. strategy to defeat the Islamic State. Previously, he was a presidential management fellow in the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations and served on the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff under Secretaries Clinton and Kerry.

Before joining the U.S. government, Alex taught at Barnard College and worked for The Carter Center, where he supported former President Carter's efforts to resolve civil wars in Sudan, Uganda, and Liberia. He directed the Center's international election observation missions in Liberia (2011) and Libya (2012), and earlier helped to organize election missions in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Venezuela. While studying in London, he was a researcher in the office of Julia Drown MP, a leading parliamentary advocate for international development and debt relief.

In the fall of 2018, Alex was a fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library, where he is completing a book manuscript on strategic decision making within the board of directors of the Dutch West India Company. This project builds on more than two years archival research in Europe supported by a Fulbright Fellowship and a Brill Fellowship at the Scaliger Institute at the University of Leiden. With Bea Brommer, Henk den Heijer, and Jaap Jacobs, Alex edited a Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch West India Company and has published in the Erasmus Journal of Philosophy and Economics and Omslag. He has written on national security for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for American Progress, and the National Intelligence Council, as well as Foreign Policy, Just Security, The SAIS Review, and War on the Rocks.

Alex holds a BA in political science from the University of Chicago, an MSc in economic history and Diploma in economics from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in history from Princeton University.


Could U.S. Withdrawal from Syria Lead to War Between Russia and Turkey?” Just Security, December 26, 2018.

With Brian Katulis, “Trump Should Work with Putin to Develop a New Framework for Syria,” Foreign Policy, July 23, 2018.

With Brian Katulis, Daniel Benaim, and Peter Juul, “Seizing the Diplomatic Initiative in Syria,” Center for American Progress, July 19, 2018.

Strategic Dimensions of Forced Migration in Syria,” SAIS Review of International Affairs, Vol. 37, No. 2 (Summer/Fall 2017), pp. 25-32.

Syria Is Sliding Towards Partition,” War on the Rocks, November 2, 2017.

With Lisa Roman, “It’s Time for a New Syria Peace Process,” Foreign Policy, September 15, 2017.

With Salman Ahmed, “Trump’s National Security Strategy: A New Brand of Mercantilism,”

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, August 17, 2017.

General National Congress Elections in Libya: Final Report,” The Carter Center, May 2013.

National Elections in Liberia: Final Report,” The Carter Center, March 2012.

With Bea Brommer, Henk den Heijer, and Jaap Jacobs, Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch West India Company. Voorburg: Asia Maior Publishers, 2011.

Johannes de Laet’s History of the Westindische Compagnie," Omslag, Leiden, Vol. 7, No. 1. (April 2011), pp. 1-2.

Bernard Mandeville and the ‘Economy’ of the Dutch,” Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Autumn 2008), pp. 87-106

“Foreword” to When I Wished I Was Here: Dispatches from Fallujah. New York: The Crumpled Press, 2007.