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Esther D. Brimmer

James H. Binger Senior Fellow in Global Governance,
Council on Foreign Relations


Esther Brimmer is the James H. Binger senior fellow in global governance at the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR). Her primary areas of interest are international organizations and transatlantic relations. At CFR, she is writing a book about the need to craft new mechanisms of governance to manage human activities in outer space and convenes the Council of Councils. From 2017 through 2022, Brimmer was executive director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the largest nonprofit professional association dedicated to international education with around 10,000 members in over 160 countries. She previously led U.S. policy in international organizations as the assistant secretary of state for International Organization Affairs from 2009 to 2013 and served on the policy planning staff from 1999 to 2001. Brimmer was the J. B. and Maurice C. Shapiro professor at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. She was the first deputy director and director of research at the Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR) at the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies from 2001 to 2009. While at CTR, Brimmer was also a visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. Brimmer has served in the private sector as a senior advisor at McLarty Associates, and earlier as an associate at McKinsey & Company. Early in her career, she was a senior associate at the Carnegie commission on preventing deadly conflict. Brimmer has published numerous articles and edited eight books on transatlantic relations, including Defending the Gains? Transatlantic Responses When Democracy Is Under Threat; Changing Identities, Enduring Values: Is There Still a Transatlantic Community?; and The Strategic Implications of EU Enlargement (with Stefan Fröhlich). Brimmer received her M.Phil and D. Phil degrees from Oxford University.

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