William R. Polk

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William Roe Polk (born 1929 in Fort Worth, Texas) is a veteran foreign policy consultant and author. He is a former professor of history at Harvard University and the University of Chicago, and was President of the latter's Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.

Harvard University private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 postgraduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities.

University of Chicago Private research university in Chicago, Illinois, United States

The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1890, the school is located on a 217-acre campus in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, near Lake Michigan. The University of Chicago holds top-ten positions in various national and international rankings.



He was born in Fort Worth, Texas and grew up on a ranch in west Texas. He is a relation of president James K. Polk and of the prominent lawyer and diplomat Frank Polk He attended public school in Fort Worth and the New Mexico Military Institute. [1] He studied in Latin America and worked on a Rome newspaper before matriculating and earning a BA and Ph.D from Harvard University, and BA and MA from Oxford University. [1] He also studied at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the Universidad de Chile, the University of Baghdad and the American University of Cairo. [1]

Fort Worth, Texas City in Texas, United States

Fort Worth is a city in the U.S. state of Texas. It is the 15th-largest city in the United States and fifth-largest city in Texas. It is the county seat of Tarrant County, covering nearly 350 square miles (910 km2) into four other counties: Denton, Johnson, Parker, and Wise. According to the 2017 census estimates, Fort Worth's population is 874,168. Fort Worth is the second-largest city in the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area, which is the 4th most populous metropolitan area in the United States.

James K. Polk 11th president of the United States

James Knox Polk was the 11th president of the United States from 1845 to 1849. He previously was speaker of the House of Representatives (1835–1839) and governor of Tennessee (1839–1841). A protégé of Andrew Jackson, he was a member of the Democratic Party and an advocate of Jacksonian democracy. Polk is chiefly known for extending the territory of the United States during the Mexican–American War; during his presidency, the United States expanded significantly with the annexation of the Republic of Texas, the Oregon Territory, and the Mexican Cession following the American victory in the Mexican–American War.

Frank Polk United States lawyer and diplomat

Frank Lyon Polk was a prominent United States lawyer and diplomat, who was also a name partner of the law firm today known as Davis Polk & Wardwell.


Polk taught Middle Eastern history and politics at Harvard from 1955–61, and was then appointed by President Kennedy to the State Department's Policy Planning Council focusing on the Middle East and North Africa. [1] While there he served as a member of the Cuban Missile Crisis management team.

John F. Kennedy 35th president of the United States

John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician and journalist who served as the 35th president of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. He served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his presidency dealt with managing relations with the Soviet Union. A member of the Democratic Party, Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate prior to becoming president.

United States Department of State United States federal executive department responsible for foreign affairs

The United States Department of State (DOS), commonly referred to as the State Department, is the federal executive department that advises the President and conducts international relations. Equivalent to the foreign ministry of other countries, it was established in 1789 as the nation's first executive department.

The Policy Planning Staff is the principal strategic arm of the United States Department of State. It was created in 1947 by renowned Foreign Service Officer George F. Kennan at the request of Secretary of State George Marshall to serve "as a source of independent policy analysis and advice for the Secretary of State." Its first assignment was to design the Marshall Plan.

In 1961 Polk was a Guggenheim Fellow in Near Eastern Studies. [2]

Polk resigned from the federal government to join the University of Chicago as professor of history in 1965, where he taught for ten years and established its Center for Middle Eastern Studies, serving as Founding Director. [1]

In 1967 Polk became president of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs, which hosted the 20th Pugwash Conference on nuclear weapons problems, helped organize the “Table Ronde” meeting which laid groundwork for the European Union, and contributed to planning the United Nations Environmental Program. [1] During the 1967 Middle Eastern Six-Day War he returned to Washington to write a draft peace treaty and to serve as an advisor to McGeorge Bundy, who was President Johnson’s personal representative during that crisis. [1]

Adlai Stevenson II mid-20th-century Governor of Illinois and Ambassador to the UN

Adlai Ewing Stevenson II was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat.

Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs organization

The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs is an international organization that brings together scholars and public figures to work toward reducing the danger of armed conflict and to seek solutions to global security threats. It was founded in 1957 by Joseph Rotblat and Bertrand Russell in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, Canada, following the release of the Russell–Einstein Manifesto in 1955.

European Union Economic and political union of European states

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of about 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.

Polk was Vice Chairman of the W.P. Carey Foundation [1] and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. [3] He lives and writes in southern France and is married to Baroness Elisabeth von Oppenheimer. [1] He has lectured at the Canadian Institute of International Relations, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and the Institute of World Economy and International Affairs of the Soviet (now Russian) Academy of Sciences, as well at over a hundred universities and colleges.

William Polk was also the foreign policy adviser for Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich's presidential campaign.


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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 williampolk.com, William R. Polk's Author
  2. John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, William R. Polk
  3. Council on Foreign Relations, Membership Roster (as of October 24, 2013)