Patricia Harrison

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Harrison speaking at the 2011 Public Radio Program Directors Conference

Patricia de Stacy Harrison is the president and chief executive officer of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in the United States.[1] Her candidacy arose with backing from CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson 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.[2]


Harrison is a native of Brooklyn, New York, and a graduate of the School of International Service of American University in Washington, D.C.[3]

In 1973 she co-founded the PR agency the E. Bruce Harrison Company with her husband E. Bruce Harrison. 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."[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

Under Harrison's direction, the State Department initiated the CultureCommect program in which American celebrities including 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 president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.[1] Later that year, the process by which she was selected was called into question by a report from the Inspector General of the CPB. The report concluded that then-CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson "was strongly motivated by political considerations in filling the president/CEO position".[2] Tomlinson resigned from the CPB board on November 4, 2005, and was replaced by Cheryl Halpern. Harrison remains CPB president and CEO as of 2015.

In 2015 Harrison gave public support to the work of the David Lynch Foundation.[4] Of her practice of Transcendental Meditation she has said, "TM is a oasis, a life-preserver. It strengthens you."[5]


  • 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



  1. ^ a b "Patricia de Stacy Harrison, President and Chief Executive Officer". Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Review of Alleged Actions Violating The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, as Amended (PDF) (Report). Corporation For Public Broadcasting Office of Inspector General. November 15, 2005. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d "Biography of Patricia de Stacy Harrison—Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs". The White House Archives (Pres. George Bush). U.S. Government. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Women in the Media Who Meditate". David Lynch Foundation. Archived from the original on 17 May 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015. Eight nationally renowned women leaders in the media who meditate gathered on April 16, 2015 in New York City to raise awareness about the benefits of the evidence-based Transcendental Meditation technique for overcoming stress, improving performance, and enhancing work-life balance in their lives.
  5. ^ Tran, Bibi. "'Women in the Media Who Meditate' Luncheon Raises Funds to Teach TM to At-Risk Women and Children". David Lynch Foundation. Archived from the original on 17 May 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015. It isn’t a question of how do I find the time for it. Rather, I look forward to it. TM is a oasis, a life-preserver. It strengthens you.

External links[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