Who We Are

  • Leon Fuerth, Founder and Director

Leon Fuerth, Founder and Director of the Project


Professor Leon Fuerth’s career in government spanned thirty years, including positions in the State Department, House and Senate staff, and the White House. His most recent government service was as Vice President Gore’s National Security Adviser for the eight years of the Clinton administration, where he served on the Principals’ Committee of the National Security Council and the National Economic Council, alongside the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the President’s own National Security Advisor.

During his twelve years as a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department, Professor Fuerth served in the U.S. Consulate General in Zagreb, Yugoslavia; the office of the Counselor of the Department; the Bureau of Intelligence and Research; and in both the Bureau of Political Military Affairs and the Bureau of European Affairs in several capacities. He became a resource for strategic intelligence (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons); arms control; Soviet and Warsaw Pact affairs; and NATO.

On the Hill, Professor Fuerth worked for the late Congressman Les Aspin as staff director of the sub-committee on covert action, in the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; for Al Gore during the last two years of his term as a member of the House; and for Gore during both his terms as a Senator. In the course of this twelve-year period, Professor Fuerth was the Select Committee’s expert on arms control verification, in addition to operating as its primary staff resource for monitoring covert action; he was deeply involved in the development of arms control positions by Congressman Gore; and in the Senate, he served as Gore’s staff link to both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Committee on Science and Technology (Space sub-committee). He was responsible to Senator Gore for all aspects of national security, including international trade.

In the White House, Professor Fuerth served as Vice President Gore’s National Security Adviser for both of his terms in office. During this time, he operated – by Presidential order – as a full member of the Principals and Deputies Committees in both the National Security Council and the National Economic Council, where he participated in the formation of national policy as an advisor to both the Vice President and the President. He was the senior administration staff member responsible for the operation of bi-national commissions with Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Egypt, and South Africa, as well as the U.S.-China Environmental Forum, which he personally negotiated. For three years, he coordinated sanctions against Serbia on behalf of the U.S. government, at the request of the Principals Committee. Throughout the Clinton-Gore administration, Professor Fuerth also led efforts to develop the International Space Station with the Russians and other partners; to raise awareness and take action to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa; to denuclearize former Soviet states by providing alternative energy sources for the replacement of certain nuclear reactors and by providing alternative employment opportunities for nuclear scientists in Russia; to win China’s cooperation in protecting the environment and reducing pollution; and to spur foreign investment in Egypt, offering a positive example for other Arab nations involved in the Middle East peace process.

After retiring from government service at the conclusion of the Clinton Administration, Professor Fuerth came to The George Washington University to serve as the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of International Affairs from January 2001 to January 2003. He also then served simultaneously as a research professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs.  In addition, from 2011-2013 he served as a Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University.

During this period, Professor Fuerth served as a member of the National Academy of Science Committee on Climate, Energy and National Security, and to The Alliance on Climate Change, and as a consultant to former Vice President Al Gore.

Leon Fuerth is the Founder and Director of the Project on Forward Engagement.  The Project on Forward Engagement promotes the use of Anticipatory Governance to improve the federal policy process by incorporating: foresight as an actionable component of the policy process; networked systems to support whole-of-government responsiveness; and feedback systems to monitor performance and speed-up learning from results. The Project was funded by the MacArthur foundation, the National Defense University, and the George Washington University.

Currently, Fuerth serves as a co-researcher on a project on foresight and democracy funded by Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Fuerth holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in history from New York University, as well as a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University.


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Posted December 12, 2011 by forwardengagement