Xavier Magazine

Profile: Julianne Smith

Bachelor of Arts in French and Communications, 1991, Director and senior fellow, Europe Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C.

Small-Town Girl | Julianne Smith always figured her love of theater, public speaking and debate would lead to a career as a journalist. She never imagined she’d end up appearing instead before Congressional committees, foreign diplomats and dignitaries, and the European Union.

Parlez Vous? | Her turning point happened in Paris, where she spent a year at The Sorbonne. It was 1990-1991, between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Europe was the hot place to be. The experience changed her life.

Over There | “You’d see people coming over from East Berlin, rushing into the stores and eating bananas. It was absolutely phenomenal. Then I had this wonderful epiphany that with my speaking skills, I could help people understand the U.S.”

International Affairs | She graduated in December and returned to Germany for two reasons—a boyfriend and German. A year and a half later, she no longer had the boyfriend, but she did have a degree in German from the University of Munich. And she had another epiphany—knowing German, French and communications, she would study foreign policy at American University, earning a master’s in international relations.

Think Tanks | In D.C., she was exposed to the world of think tanks, where experts in public policy offer position papers and advice to policy makers. Smith put together a string of think tank jobs—the American Academy, the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Germany, the British American Security Information Council in London and the German Marshall Fund. In 2003, the Center for Strategic and International Studies hired her.

Global Security | Last December, she was promoted to head the Europe division where her specialty is the relationship between the U.S. and the European Union, especially security. “America has provided a security umbrella to Europe for more than 60 years, and now the question is what should the nature of that relationship be with the Cold War over? Should we still be providing security to Europe or should they do it themselves? ”

Collaborator | “I’m trying to shape U.S. policy toward Europe. The truth is we’re not going to solve Afghanistan or Darfur or the Mideast crisis unless we work together. It’s not a U.S. solution but a trans-Atlantic solution, and unless we get both sides working together, we don’t have a chance.”

A Man’s World | As she travels around the globe, she often runs into attitudes reminiscent of the Cold War era. She may be the keynote speaker, but she’ll sometimes be handed a spouse’s itinerary. “I have a commitment to blaze the trail for women in the security field, so it’s changing, but we’ve got a long way to go. People still ask me for coffee or more sugar.”

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