Cynthia P. Schneider

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Cynthia P. Schneider
Cynthia P. Schneider
61st United States Ambassador to the Netherlands
In office
June 29, 1998 – June 17, 2001
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byK. Terry Dornbush
Succeeded byClifford Sobel
Personal details
Born (1953-08-16) August 16, 1953 (age 65)
Pennsylvania, United States
Spouse(s)Thomas J. Schneider
Childrentwo children
ResidenceMaryland, United States
Alma materHarvard University

Cynthia Perrin Schneider[1] (born August 16, 1953) is an American diplomat. She was born in Pennsylvania, United States. She studied Fine Arts at Harvard University, where she received her bachelor's degree in 1977 and her doctorate in 1984. With her husband Thomas J. Schneider, she has two children. She was the 61st United States Ambassador to the Netherlands from June 29, 1998 to June 17, 2001.[1][2] Cynthia P. Schneider speaks Dutch, French, Italian, and German.

Professional activity[edit]

Cynthia P. Schneider started her professional career in the year 1980 as an assistant curator of European paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where she stayed till the year 1984. As Associate Professor of Art History at Georgetown University, in the period between 1984–1990, Cynthia P. Schneider was involved with several courses, publications, and exhibitions in Baroque and Renaissance art, with a specialization in Dutch art of the seventeenth century and Rembrandt. In 1998 she joined the Department of State as the Ambassador for the United States of America to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Her field of responsibility included initiatives in public and cultural diplomacy, biotechnology, cyber security, military affairs, and education, as well as work in international justice and the environment. And as such:

  • Public and Cultural Diplomacy: White House Millennium Project of oral histories by Dutch high school students of World War II veterans and survivors, published on CD and distributed throughout Dutch school system
  • Partnership with North Sea Jazz Festival and annual North Sea Jazz Jam session at the American Embassy
  • Assembled museum-quality collection of American art, and published catalogue of the collection Another Salute
  • Biotechnology: Organized and hosted a two-day conference "Biotechnology: the Science and the Impact" (January 2000, 450 attendees, 80 press and media) which is credited with fostering a positive climate for biotechnology in The Netherlands. Follow up conference co-hosted by the EU Ministry of the Environment, held at Ministry in Brussels.
  • Cyber-security: co-hosted with Royal Dutch Shell and the Rand Corporation a conference on cyber security that brought together U.S. and EU officials and private sector experts to examine their respective roles and responsibilities in addressing this problem.
  • Kyoto Protocol and Climate Change: hosted US delegation of over 100 to the COP-6 Climate Change Conference in The Hague in November 2000.
  • International Justice: responsible for US cooperation with and assistance to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY); acted as a liaison between the US government (State Department, White House, and FBI), the Tribunal, the Dutch government and NATO; top U.S. official in the Netherlands responsible for the Lockerbie trial of the two Libyans accused of bombing Pan Am 103.
  • Political/Military: Liaison between the Dutch and American military in coordinating with the Dutch before and during the Kosovo war. Groundwork towards successful sale of Joint Strike Fighter to Dutch.
  • Speeches on wide range of topics including the global economy, biotechnology, Dutch American relations, the glass ceiling, politics and culture in America, and traditions of freedom and democracy in America and in Europe . Was the first American to be invited to give the keynote address on the annual Dutch commemoration of the liberation from the Nazis (May 5, 2000, "Freedom Must be Passed On") and the first non-Dutch speaker to deliver the annual William of Orange lecture (June 5, 2001, "Culture, Society, and Government"). See for speeches as ambassador.

Starting from the year 2004 Cynthia P. Schneider has been a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy in the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University. Her duties include:

  • Courses in diplomacy and culture
  • Publications and public speaking on cultural diplomacy topics
  • Organizing conference "Communicating with the World: Diplomacy that Works", held at Georgetown University, April 30, 2003[3] and Cultural Diplomacy: Recommendations and Research, Center for Arts and Culture, July 2004, p. 4

As the Director of Life Science and Society Initiative (LSSI); Pfizer Medical Humanities Fellow, 2004-2006 Cynthia P. Schneider

  • Initiated program to pool and strengthen Georgetown's resources in the science, ethics, policy, law, and international dimensions of the life sciences to address for the public and the Congress the challenges of the integration of the life sciences into daily life.
  • Was principal investigator on a project funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to research and define "Best Practices" in public-private partnerships for agricultural biotechnology in the development world.

In 2006 Cynthia P. Schneider became a Senior Non-Resident Fellow and Coordinator of Arts and Culture Initiative of Brookings Institution at Saban Center for Middle East Policy. She is currently involved in a project about U.S. Relations with the Islamic World:

  • She develops programs and projects that represent a unique blend of policy and the arts in the area of U.S. relations with the Muslim world. Since 2006, she has built up a network of over 50 organizations and over 200 leaders in arts and culture engaged in leveraging the potential of cultural connections to increase understanding on both sides.
  • Organized annual Arts and Cultural Leaders sessions at the U.S. Islamic World Forum (Doha, Qatar)
  • Published Mightier than the Sword: Arts and Culture in the U.S- Muslim World Relationship; New Way Forward: Encouraging Greater Cultural Engagement with the Muslim World
  • She is also the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Muslims on Screen and Television (MOST): A Cross Cultural Resource Center.[4]
  • Since 2011, Schneider is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of the Peace Research Endowment.

Papers and lectures[edit]

Schneider has been invited to speak on a wide range of topics including public and cultural diplomacy, U.S. and Muslim world relations, U.S. European relations, various aspects of the life sciences, and women in the workplace.

Public and cultural diplomacy[edit]

  • "How Cultural Diplomacy is Relevant to Contemporary Security Challenges." Keynote speech at the conference "Cultural Diplomacy and Security Stakeholders Conference", Sponsored by the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the U.S. Diplomacy Center, and the National Intelligence Council, June 24, 2010.[5]
  • "Reinvention: Iraqi Contemporary Art & Culture in a Post Conflict", moderator, Post-War Art and Culture Festival, Red Jail, Sulaimanyah, Iraqi- Kurdistan, November 9, 2009.[6][7]
  • "WHAM!BAM!ISLAM! and THE 99: Popular Culture, Superheroes and the Contested Identity of Islam", introductory remarks and organizer, October 14, 2009, Brookings Institution. Speakers: Naif al-Mutawa, Chairman, Teshkeel Media and Creator of "The 99" and Isaac Solaratoff, film maker, and moderated by Shibley Telhami (October 14, 2009).
  • "Media as Global Diplomat II: New Findings on the Science of Media and Conflict", moderator, United States Institute of Peace, October 1, 2009.
  • "The Surprising Impact of Idol TV", TED Global Conference, Oxford, England, July 21, 2009 [8]
  • "Afghan Star: LA Premier Screening and Discussion", moderator, The Paley Center for Media, Los Angeles, June 15, 2009.
  • "Afghan Star: the Impact of Independent Media in Afghanistan, June 12, 2009, Brookings Institution". Panelists: Saad Mohseni (CEO Moby Media and Tolo TV), Jared Cohen (Policy Planning, Department of State), and Vikram Singh (Advisor to Richard Holbrooke), introduced and organized by Cynthia P. Schneider and moderated by David Ignatius (Associate Editor and columnist, Washington Post), June 12, 2009.
  • "Creative Expression and its Impact on Society in the Arab World", in conjunction with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, March 6, 2009, Brookings Institution. Introductory remarks and organizer; Tamara Wittes, moderator.
  • "Muslims on Screen and Television (MOST): Challenging Stereotypes and Increasing Understanding", moderated panel discussion, Middle East International Film Festival, Abu Dhabi, October 18, 2008.
  • "Public Diplomacy in the New Administration", Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, Doha, Qatar, Center for Regional and International Studies, October 19, 2008.
  • "Challenging Stereotypes and Breaking Barriers: the Role of Arts and Culture in the U.S. – Muslim World Relationship", Brookings Institution, Doha Center, October 19, 2008.
  • "Mightier than the Sword: Arts and Culture in the U.S.-Muslim World Relationship", policy discussions plus arts performances, Brookings Institution (October 6, 2008) and the Asia Society, New York (October 22, 2008).
  • "Media as a Cultural Bridge", Paley Center For Media International Council, London, June 23, 2008.
  • "Bridging the Gap: the Relationship between Cultural Diplomacy, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Socially Responsible Investment", Berlin, Deutsche Bank, June 24, 2008.
  • "Challenges of U.S. Cultural Diplomacy Today", Fifth Pan-European International Relations Conference, The Hague, Sept. 10, 2004
  • Salzburg Seminar, "American in Our Time", Sept. 2-5, 2004, "Cultural Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs" working group leader
  • "Public Diplomacy: Using Our Greatest Asset to Enhance Our Security", The Citadel, February 2, 2004
  • "Communicating with the World: Diplomacy that Works", The Citadel, February 2, 2004
  • "Culture Communicates: Diplomacy that Works", Clingendael Institute, The Hague, November 21, 2003
  • "From Monticello to Mulan: Communicating Values through Culture", Smith College, October 27, 2003
  • "Proud to be Humble: Implicit Identity and the Challenges of Multiculturalism in the Netherlands", King Juan Carlos of Spain Center, NYU, June 2, 2003 (Netherlands Historical Association; my paper read by session chair, since I could not attend personally).
  • "Communicating with the World: Diplomacy that Works ", Fort Bragg, Regional Studies, May 20, 2003
  • "Explaining America: Ideas and Icons from Thomas Jefferson to Walt Disney", University of Virginia, Forum for Contemporary Thought, March 12, 2003

Biotechnology and science policy[edit]

  • Talks at the BioVision conference, held alternately in Lyons France and Alexandria, Egypt annually from 2003-2008. Speaker also at the "Women in Science" conference in Alexandria, Egypt, October, 2007 and "Bioagenda" conferences in Palm Springs and Washington DC, 2005 and 2006.

Art history[edit]

  • Talks on Rembrandt, Vermeer, and other aspects of Dutch Baroque art in various locations in the U.S. (Los Angeles, Birmingham, Ala., New York, Washington DC and others) and Europe (the Netherlands, Stockholm, Paris) in the 1980s and 1990s.


  • Office of the United States Secretary of Defense Exceptional Public Service Award, June 2001 (highest civilian award given by Pentagon, in recognition of support for the U.S. military during ambassadorship)
  • Flevo Award, 2001 (awarded annually by the Province of Flevoland, the Netherlands) in recognition of international leadership
  • U.S. Secret Service, Department of the Treasury, Honor Award, June 2001
  • Honorary Member, Phi Beta Kappa (Harvard University chapter)

Grants and funded research[edit]

  • Doris Duke Foundation for the Islamic Arts, funding for policy research and development of Arts and Culture Initiative at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution, 2006–08
  • Pfizer Medical Humanities Initiative, Scholar-in-Residence, Georgetown University 2004-2006.
  • Rockefeller Foundation, grant to Georgetown University Graduate Public Policy Institute for the project "Ethics Meets the Marketplace: Towards a Model Framework Harnessing the Potential of the Life Sciences to Improve Agriculture and Animal Agriculture in the Developing World", 2003-05.


  1. ^ a b "Office of the Historian". 1968-08-20. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
  2. ^ Archived from the original on September 22, 2006. Retrieved February 21, 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Arts Watch". Archived from the original on 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  4. ^ "A guided resource for the entertainment industry on people of Muslim background". 2013-03-27. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  5. ^ (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on March 31, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on March 30, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "Cynthia Schneider: The surprising spread of "Idol" TV | Video on". Retrieved 2012-02-17.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
K. Terry Dornbush
61st United States Ambassador to the Netherlands
Succeeded by
Clifford Sobel