Patricia Harrison

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Patricia Destacy Harrisonis the president and chief executive officer of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a position to which she was appointed with strong backing from CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson. Her candidacy arose following a CPB Inspector General report that Kenneth Tomlinson, then chair of the CPB, used "political tests" to select a President/CEO with conservative viewpoints.[1]


According to an official biographical note, in 1973 Harrison co-founded the PR agency the E. Bruce Harrison Company with her husband E. Bruce Harrison. One biographical note states that while working with the company, which was sold in a merger deal in 1996, "she created and directed programs in the public interest comprising diverse stakeholder groups, including the National Environmental Development Association, a partnership of labor, agriculture and industry working for better environmental solutions together."

George H.W. Bush appointed Harrison to the President's Export Council in the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1990. She was elected co-chair of the Republican National Committee in 1997, serving until 2001, when she was appointed to the post of Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.[2]

Harrison's public relations skills were called upon to help with the U.S. government's public diplomacy program during the Iraq war. "As Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy during the Iraq conflict, Ms. Harrison also collaborated with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to bring the Iraq National Symphony Orchestra to Washington, and she has initiated a comprehensive renewal of the Baghdad National Museum," the biographical note states. Under Harrison's direction, the State Department initiated the CultureCommect program in which American celebrities such as YoYo Ma, Denyce Graves, Doris Roberts and Frank McCourt acted as "cultural ambassadors" in trips to Pakistan, Russia, Israel, and other countries.

In June 2005 she was appointed as President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

She is a native of Brooklyn, New York and a graduate of the School of International Service of American University in Washington, DC.[2]


  • Patricia Harrison (ed), America's New Women Entrepreneurs: Tips, Tactics, and Techniques of Women Achievers in Business, Acropolis Books, May 1986, ISBN 0-87491-810-3
  • Patricia Harrison, Seat At The Table: An Insider's Guide for America's New Women Leaders, Mastermedia Publishing Company, February 1996, ISBN 1-57101-042-4

External links[edit]


Speeches by Harrison[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
William B. Bader
Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs
October 2, 2001 – July 1, 2005
Succeeded by
Dina Powell