Keren Yarhi-Milo Appointed Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs

May 23, 2022

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am delighted to announce my appointment of Keren Yarhi-Milo as the next Dean of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. Professor Yarhi-Milo is the Arnold A. Saltzman Professor of War and Peace Studies and Director of the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. She is an expert in international security and conflict resolution with a record of extensive leadership service at SIPA and across the University. 

Professor Yarhi-Milo joined the Columbia faculty in 2019 after a decade at Princeton University, where she had been an Associate Professor of Politics and International Affairs. She graduated from Columbia’s School of General Studies in 2003 and earned her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Keren’s award-winning scholarship and teaching bridge the academic and policy worlds, focusing predominantly on how leaders make foreign policy decisions regarding the use of force. Her most recent books are Knowing the Adversary: Leaders, Intelligence, and Assessment of Intentions in International Relations andWho Fights for Reputation: The Psychology of Leaders in International Conflict. Drawing on cutting-edge insights from psychology, organizational theory, and behavioral economics, her work explores the complicated contexts that surround decision-making, signaling, and perception in international relations. Keren’s research also delves into the complexities of intelligence, the role of secrecy and deception in foreign policy, and the use of face-to-face diplomacy. All of her scholarship is grounded in an ongoing dialogue with policymakers, in which ideas and approaches are challenged and refined. 

As Director of SIPA’s Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Keren has launched numerous ambitious initiatives to elevate SIPA’s academic offerings and engagement with the world’s most pressing challenges. Chief among them are her efforts with the Columbia Global Centers and the Committee on Forced Migration to help students and scholars displaced by the crisis in Afghanistan. This work was expanded in March to include those seeking refuge from the war in Ukraine. In 2021, she launched the Emerging Voices in National Security and Intelligence program to attract and support students from underrepresented backgrounds interested in pursuing careers in those fields. She has also spearheaded the Saltzman Student Scholar program and has served on the Committee of Appointments and Promotions and the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. Her University-wide leadership roles include serving on the Joint CC-GS Committee on Instruction, as a member of the University Senate, and as chair of the Arts and Sciences subcommittee exploring a potential College expansion.

I would like to thank the members of the search committee for their careful and skilled work in selecting the next Dean of SIPA, and to recognize Thomas Christensen for serving ably and expertly as Interim Dean. 

A long-standing and devoted member of the Columbia community, Keren will be a wonderful addition to University leadership. Please join me in congratulating her on this appointment. 


Lee C. Bollinger