Lee A. Feinstein

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Lee Feinstein

Lee Andrew Feinstein (born 1959)[1] is a former senior official in the Obama and Clinton administrations, was the United States ambassador to Poland[2] from 2009 to 2012.

Early life and education[edit]

Born to a Jewish family,[3] Feinstein graduated from Georgetown University Law Center, from which he holds a J.D. He also holds a Master of Arts in political science from the City University of New York, and an A.B. from Vassar College.


Feinstein was Assistant Director for Research at the Arms Control Association in Washington from 1989 to 1994 before joining the Clinton administration in February 1994. Feinstein was Senior Advisor for Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1995 at the Department of Defense before joining the Department of State, where he served as Principal Deputy Director and Member of the Policy Planning Staff from 1995 to 2001.

Feinstein joined the Carnegie Endowment Non-Proliferation Project as a visiting scholar in April 2001. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations since 1994, Feinstein also has served CFR as Deputy Director of Studies, Senior Fellow for Foreign Policy and International Law, and Executive Director of the Task Force Program from 2002 to 2007. He also served as co-director of CFR's nonpartisan Enhancing U.S. Leadership at the United Nations Independent Task Force.

Feinstein was also an advisor to the congressionally mandated Task Force on the United Nations, chaired by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Senator George J. Mitchell.

In 2008, Feinstein joined the Brookings Institution as Visiting Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies. From 2007 to 2008 he was national security director for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and was later an outside foreign policy advisor to the Barack Obama campaign. Feinstein went on leave from the Brookings Institution in 2009 to become Senior Advisor in the Office of the Secretary under Secretary Clinton in the new administration of President Barack Obama.

Feinstein is admitted to the bars of New York and Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of The Kosciuszko Foundation in New York and a member of the National Advisory Council of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He is also a member of the international commission to build a Memorial to Poland's Righteous at the site of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.[4]

Ambassador to Poland[edit]

On July 17, 2009, President Obama announced that he intended to nominate Feinstein as Ambassador to Poland.[2] Feinstein's appointment was notable in that he is viewed as a Clinton loyalist, and the Foreign Policy blog had earlier speculated the post would go to Obama advisor Mark Brzezinski.[5] Feinstein was formally nominated on July 20, 2009 and was confirmed by the Senate on September 22, 2009 by unanimous consent.[6] On October 20, 2009, Ambassador Feinstein presented his credentials to the President of Poland, Lech Kaczyński.

During his tenure, Feinstein signed an agreement to establish a U.S. Air Force aviation detachment in Poland, the first permanent presence of U.S. forces in the country.[7] He also signed an agreement, witnessed by Secretary Clinton, to establish missile defenses in Poland under the NATO Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense.[8] Feinstein co-sponsored with Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski an international conference on the potential development of Poland's natural gas resources.[9]

Feinstein served as ambassador in Poland from October 2009 to October 2012, announcing in July 2012, that he would be retiring from his position. The embassy announced that Stephen D. Mull would be his replacement[10]

Indiana University[edit]

Feinstein was named the founding dean of Indiana University’s School of Global and International Studies in 2014, a post he currently holds.[11]


Feinstein has written widely on foreign policy and national security. He is the author of "Means to an End: U.S. Interest and the International Criminal Court" (Brookings, 2009) with Tod Lindberg of the Hoover Institution. Writing in Foreign Affairs, Princeton University Professor John Ikenberry said, “Books of this sort are all too rare. Two experienced policy intellectuals, one liberal, one conservative, have come together to find common ground on a controversial foreign policy issue.” [12]

An international lawyer, Feinstein wrote the Council on Foreign Relations report “Darfur and Beyond: What Is Needed to Prevent Mass Atrocities,” which was featured in the Emmy Award-winning multimedia council project "Crisis Guide-Darfur." [13]

Feinstein is the author of numerous articles, book chapters and op-eds, and he is a frequent commentator for the national and international media. His writings include “UN Divided” in the National Interest[14] and “A Duty to Prevent,” written with Anne Marie Slaughter in Foreign Affairs.[15] His book chapters include: “Darfur and Beyond: What Is Needed to Prevent Mass Atrocities” in Beyond Humanitarianism (Council on Foreign Relations, 2007) and “Beyond Words: U.S. Policy and the Responsibility to Protect” in The Responsibility to Protect: the Global Moral Compact for the 21st Century (Palgravem 2008).

Feinstein was a principal author and human rights expert appointed to the 2005 congressionally mandated Gingrich-Mitchell task force on the United Nations, which issued the report: “American Interests and UN Reform: Report of the Task Force on the United Nations," United States Institute of Peace. [16] Feinstein also was co-director with Adrian Karatnycky of the “Report of the Independent Task Force on the United Nations,” co-sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations and Freedom House, and co-directed by Rep. David Dreier and Rep. Lee Hamilton (2003).[17]


Feinstein was awarded the Commander’s Cross with the Order of the Star of Merit of the Republic of Poland by Polish President Bronisław Komorowski in Warsaw in October 2012 “for his outstanding contributions to Polish-American relations by strengthening cooperation between Poland and the United States.” [18]

In 2011, Feinstein received two medals from the Veteran’s Association of Combatants of the Republic of Poland and Former Political Prisoners (ZKRPiBWP) for his leadership in strengthening securitycooperation between Poland and the United States.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Feinstein is married to Elaine Margaret Monaghan, a Scot who is a journalist and strategic communications consultant.[10] They have two children.


  1. ^ Lee Andrew Feinstein (1959–)
  2. ^ a b White House Press Release of 17 July, 2009
  3. ^ Jewish Virtual Library: "Lee Feinstein" retrieved October 28, 2013
  4. ^ "Zygmunt Rolat on Poland's Righteous Gentiles Memorial". Polskie Radio. Retrieved December 3, 2013. 
  5. ^ Ben Smith of Politico on 17 July, 2009
  6. ^ "Ambassador-designate Lee Feinstein Confirmed by the U.S. Senate". U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Warsaw. Poland. Archived from the original on December 12, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  7. ^ "President Komorowski awards U.S. Ambassador". Website of the President of Poland. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Protocol to the Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement Signed". United States Diplomatic Mission to Warsaw, Poland. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  9. ^ "FM Sikorski and Ambassador Feinstein Open Conference on Energy Security and Shale Gas". United States Diplomatic Mission to Warsaw, Poland. Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Hareetz: "U.S. ambassador to Poland announces sudden end to service" by Roman Frister July 13, 2012
  11. ^ "Ambassador Lee A. Feinstein named founding dean of IU's School of Global and International Studies". Indiana University. Retrieved April 5, 2016. 
  12. ^ Ikenberry, G. John (May–June 2010). "Means to an End: U.S. Interest in the International Criminal Court". Foreign Affairs. 
  13. ^ "CFR.org's Darfur Crisis Guide Wins Emmy Award". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  14. ^ Feinstein, Lee (December 1, 2005). "UN-Divided". National Interest. 
  15. ^ Feinstein, Lee, Slaughter, Anne Marie (January–February 2004). "A Duty to Prevent". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Gingrich-Mitchell Task Force On UN Reform". U.S. Institute of Peace. Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Enhancing U.S. Leadership at the United Nations". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  18. ^ "President Komorowski awards U.S. Ambassador". Website of President of Poland. Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  19. ^ "U.S. Ambassador Lee A. Feinstein to Receive Two Awards from Polish Veteran's Group". Retrieved December 5, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Victor Ashe
United States Ambassador to Poland
Succeeded by
Stephen Mull