Rachel Kleinfeld
Senior Fellow, Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program


Rachel Kleinfeld is a senior fellow in Carnegie’s Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program. Her work on troubled democracies facing problems such as polarized populations, violence, corruption, and poor governance bridges the United States and international cases.

Kleinfeld’s focus on the intersection of democracy and security has led her to regularly brief the governments of the United States and allied democracies on issues of conflict, the rule of law, and policing and security sector reform, and she has also consulted for international organizations such as the European Union, OECD, and World Bank. She serves on the United Nations’ Security Sector Reform Advisory Group, and previously served on the agenda committee of the Halifax International Security Forum, where she is currently a fellow.

In addition to her research and analysis, Kleinfeld is engaged in actively seeking solutions. To that end, she serves as a trustee of the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, and States United for Democracy and on the advisory board of Protect Democracy. She is a senior advisor to the Democracy Funders Network and is a member of the National Task Force on Election Crises.

Prior to joining Carnegie, Kleinfeld spent a decade co-founding and directing the Truman National Security Project, for which Time magazine named her one of the top 40 political leaders under 40 in America. Under her leadership, the Truman Project fostered a new generation of military veterans and national security leaders to advance policies that would enhance global security, democracy, and human dignity. With 80,000 advocates and chapters in most major U.S. cities, they assisted scores of national, state, and local candidates and elected officials and advocated for legislation nationally and in multiple states. In 2011, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton appointed Kleinfeld to the Foreign Affairs Policy Board, which advises the secretary of state quarterly, a role she held through 2014.

Kleinfeld is the author of A Savage Order (Pantheon, 2018); Advancing the Rule of Law Abroad: Next Generation Reform (Carnegie, 2012), chosen by Foreign Affairs magazine as one of the best foreign policy books of 2012; and co-author of Let There Be Light: Electrifying the Developing World with Markets and Distributed Generation (Truman Institute, 2012). Her popular writing has appeared in venues from the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and the Atlantic to the Journal of Democracy and the Annual Review of Political Science. Kleinfeld’s TED talk on improving violent democracies has been translated into 17 languages and viewed over a million times.

You can find out more about her work and activities on her website,

DPhil, MPhil, International Relations, St. Antony’s College, Oxford. , BA, Yale University 

All work from Rachel Kleinfeld

196 Results
In The Media
in the media
On the Attempted Assassination of Donald Trump and the Rise of Political Violence in America

A discussion on why political violence has been on the rise in recent years; which important resilience factors make America resistant to a civil war; and how individuals can contribute, as voters and in their communities, to lowering the probability of political violence

· July 16, 2024
The Good Fight
In The Media
in the media
How Polarized is the United States?

A conversation on whether the assassination attempt on Donald Trump marks the beginning of a perilous period for political violence in America, or if the polarization and tension might recede amid the wave of shock.

· July 15, 2024
Al Jazeera
In The Media
in the media
What Trump’s Near Assassination Says About New Era of Political Violence

America is experiencing the worst spate of domestic violence since the 1960s and 1970s. July 13’s assassination attempt against former President Trump could be a wakeup call.

· July 15, 2024
Press Play with Madeleine Brand (KCRW)
In The Media
in the media
An Expert on Political Violence Sees a Way Out of America’s Crisis

In American history and abroad, political violence can be tamped down—but the public also has to want it.

· July 14, 2024
In The Media
in the media
Politicians Normalising Violence Should Know It Can Turn Against Them: U.S. Expert

Majorities of Americans across the political spectrum condemn political violence as unequivocally wrong, in every single case, against anyone. That voice needs to be heard loud and clear.

· July 14, 2024
Hindustan Times
In The Media
in the media
Threats, Stalking and Harassment is the New Normal for Many Public Officials

More than 40% of state legislators have been victims of threats or attacks since 2020, according to a recent survey. Death threats, stalking and relentless harassment of public officials working across local, state and federal government has becoming increasingly common. 

· June 5, 2024
Forum (KQED)
Non-state Actors and Geopolitical Rivalry
April 30, 2024

Join the Carnegie Endowment for a discussion of how societies can manage the risks non-state actors pose as countries navigate challenges involving security, governance, and the well-being of their populations with Daniel Byman, Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar, Beatriz Magaloni, and Rachel Kleinfeld.

In The Media
in the media
Polarisation, Political Violence and the U.S. Elections

An assessment of the health of U.S. democracy and unpacking the risk of political violence surrounding the 2024 U.S. elections.

· April 19, 2024
Ripple Effect podcast
In The Media
in the media
The False Economic Promise of Populism

Populists rely on big promises and false premises to sell their methods to citizens—the outcome is rarely a happy ending.

· April 14, 2024
The UnPopulist
In the Media
The Coming Attacks on Nonprofits

The far right and far left want to eliminate organizations that challenge them.

· April 1, 2024
The Chronicle of Philanthropy