William J. Dobson

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William J. Dobson
Born William Joel Dobson
(1973-03-02) March 2, 1973 (age 44)
North Kingstown, Rhode Island, United States
Alma mater Middlebury College (AB)
Harvard University (AM)
Harvard Law School (JD)
Occupation Journalist, author
Notable credit(s) Slate magazine, Politics and Foreign Affairs Editor (present)
Foreign Policy, Managing Editor (2004–2008)
Newsweek International, Senior Editor for Asia
Foreign Affairs, Associate Editor
Website www.williamjdobson.com

William J. "Will" Dobson is an American journalist and author who writes frequently on foreign affairs and international politics. He is currently the Politics and Foreign Affairs Editor for Slate.[1]

Early life[edit]

Dobson was born on a naval base in North Kingston, Rhode Island. His father, W. Joel Dobson, was a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy. His mother, Barbara Joyce Dobson, is an English teacher.

Dobson grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and attended Spartanburg Day School. He received a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude from Middlebury College. He later earned a master's degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University and a Juris Doctor cum laude from Harvard Law School. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and two children.[2]


From 2004 to 2008, Dobson was the Managing Editor of Foreign Policy magazine. During his tenure at Foreign Policy, the magazine was nominated for a National Magazine Award five years in a row – the only magazine of its size to receive five consecutive nominations – and won the top prize twice.[3]

Previously, he served as the Senior Editor for Asia at Newsweek International and as Associate Editor at Foreign Affairs.[1] He has also been a Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.[4]

During the height of the Arab Spring, he wrote daily pieces on modern authoritarianism for the Washington Post’s editorial page.[2] While reporting from Cairo, Dobson wrote the first account of the Egyptian military’s torture of female protestors in Tahrir Square.

Dobson’s first book, The Dictator's Learning Curve[5] was published by Doubleday in 2012. The non-fiction book is an analysis of modern authoritarianism and has been reviewed by various media.[6]


Dobson was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2006.[7] In 2003, he was named the U.S. Rapporteur for the World Economic Forum’s East Asia Summit.[8] The Singapore International Foundation awarded him a Distinguished Visitor Fellowship in 2008.[9] The East-West Center awarded him a Senior Journalist Fellowship for Southeast Asia (2006) and an Asia-Pacific Journalism Fellowship (2008). Dobson was a Knight Media Fellow (2003) to the Salzburg Global Seminar, and later a Freeman Fellow in U.S.-East Asian Relations (2007).[10]

Middlebury College recognized him with an Alumni Achievement Award in 2011.[11] Dobson is also a 1994 Truman Scholar.[12]

Published works[edit]


Media appearances[edit]

Dobson has provided commentary for various news organizations, including CNN, CBS, MSNBC, PBS NewsHour,[13] National Public Radio, and Voice of America.


  1. ^ a b "Who We Are". Slate. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Author List". Lippencot Massie McQuilken. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "About". William J. Dobson. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Dobson, William (May 16, 2009). "Saviors and Survivors". Financial Times. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  5. ^ The Dictator’s Learning Curve
  6. ^ Publishers Weekly, BusinessWeek and Foreign Policy magazine
  7. ^ Young Global Leader
  8. ^ "EAST ASIA ECONOMIC SUMMIT 2003 ASIA AGENDA MONITOR" (PDF). World Economic Forum. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  9. ^ "SIF Distinguished Visitors". Singapore International Foundation. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  10. ^ "Newsletter". Salzburg Global Seminar. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  11. ^ "2010-2011 Events" (PDF). Middlebury College. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  12. ^ "Truman Scholarship". Herald-Journal. August 3, 1994. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "William Dobson on Egypt's 'Quick', 'Dynamic' Process". PBS NewsHour. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 

External links[edit]