Isobel Coleman

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Isobel Coleman
Occupation Writer, Analyst
Nationality American
Subject Middle East, Democratization, Economic Development, Foreign assistance, Women in Development

Isobel Coleman is senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and director of CFR's Civil Society, Markets and Democracy Initiative. She is also director of CFR's Women and Foreign Policy program. Her areas of expertise include democratization and economic development in the Middle East, educational reform and regional gender issues.

She is the author and co-author of numerous publications, including Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East (Random House, 2010), Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President (Brookings Institution Press, 2008) and Strategic Foreign Assistance: Civil Society in International Security (Hoover Press, 2006). Her writings have also appeared in publications such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, and online venues such as the Huffington Post.


Coleman was a partner in the New York office of McKinsey & Company where she focused on financial institutions (1992–2000). She also served as CEO (2000–2002 of Nursing Hands, Inc., a health-care services company sold to Jobson LLC in 2002.

She sits on the advisory boards of various organizations, including Plan USA and Student Sponsor Partners.

Personal life[edit]

Coleman was born in New York. She attended Princeton University and graduated magna cum laude with degrees in public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School and East Asian Studies. A Marshall Scholar, she attended Oxford University where she earned an M.Phil. and D.Phil. in international relations. She lives in the New York area with her husband, Dr. Struan Coleman, and their children.

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