By JAMES EVANS
Wilson School professor Anne-Marie Slaughter will not be moving to Washington, D.C. following her appointment as president of the think tank New America Foundation. Slaughter will be leaving her post in academia but will continue to reside in Princeton with her family.
In an interview Thursday, Slaughter said she will be able to work “at least a few days a week” from her home in Princeton, while also traveling to the capital and New York City, where New America also has offices.
“It really was a question of what made the most sense both for me and for my family,” Slaughter explained. “It’s not a radical change — I’ll still be in the world of ideas. I’ve been in the academy for my entire professional life, and this is definitely something different. I think it’s a perfect fit.”
“You don’t leave tenure at a great university lightly,” she joked.
New America’s Interim President and Director of External Relations Rachel White said that Slaughter looked like the best candidate from the beginning.
“Anne-Marie had exactly the sweet spot of what we were looking for,” said White, adding that the search committee was impressed by Slaughter’s intellectual capacity, creativity and proven record of managing and growing an institution.
White explained that Slaughter’s appointment was the result of a 10-month long search process that considered 3,000 names and ultimately saw 50 candidates directly interviewed. The NAF negotiated the offer for two weeks before officially offering her the position on Tuesday.
Slaughter, who is currently a member of New America’s Board of Directors, said she was first contacted about the presidency last summer.
According to a release by the NAF, the search committee that appointed Slaughter was led by David Bradley, the chairman of The Atlantic Media Company.
Slaughter made waves last summer when she published an article titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” in The Atlantic, a magazine owned by Bradley.
In addition, the chairman of the Foundation is Eric Schmidt ’76, also Executive Chairman of Google, Inc. According to Slaughter’s University biography, she is also a consultant for Google.
Given that she will be spending a substantial amount of time in Princeton, Slaughter said she hopes to continue to play an active role in the campus community.
“I know that there are a lot of wonderful professors doing the kind of work that I’d love to connect to New America, so I’m hoping to continue meeting faculty, just in a different guise,” she explained. “I would love to continue working with women’s leadership issues with New America and the University … And of course I’m still very happy to be a member of the community and an emeritus professor.”
When asked how the Foundation would change under her leadership, Slaughter said that only time could tell.
“Ask me in a year or six months. One thing I learned while leading the Woodrow Wilson is not to put out a vision until you’ve really had a chance to get to know your institution.”
Slaughter will return to working in D.C. having already left a strong track record in the nation’s capital. In 2009, she took a leave of absence from the University to join the State Department as Director of Policy Planning and was the first woman to hold that position.
After completing her tenure in the Obama administration, Slaughter was awarded the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award for her efforts to coordinate the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.
In a message to the Wilson School community distributed by Dean Cecilia Rouse on Wednesday evening, Slaughter said it was “hard to leave such extraordinary students” but that she also felt it was “time for me to move one step closer to putting ideas into action.”
Founded in 1999, the New America Foundation is not affiliated with any particular political or lobbyist groups. According to White, the think tank focuses its efforts on three areas of policy — foreign policy, technology and education — while also encouraging innovative ideas through its fellowship program.