Steven Livingston

Steven Livingston

Steven Livingston

Founding Director; Past Leadership

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Steven Livingston is the Founding Director of the Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics (IDDP) and Professor of Media and Public Affairs. In 2019, he led GW’s successful bid for a $5 million grant to found IDDP.  He served as the director of the Political Communication Program when it was a degree-granting entity within SMPA (1996 – 2002, 2004 – 2006). In 2004, he served as acting director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, a position held until August 2006. He also founded the Public Diplomacy Institute (PDI) at GW in 2000 and served as the chairman of the Board of Directors until 2008. PDI is now the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication.

Livingston's research and teaching focus on media/information technology and political theory. He is particularly interested in the role of information technologies and media on governance, development, accountability and human rights.  In recent years, he has been a visiting senior research fellow at the Free University of Berlin; Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand; a Visiting Scholar at the Brookings Institution in governance; a visiting professor at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland; and a visiting professor at the University of Cambridge in Britain. In the fall of 2016, Livingston was appointed a Senior Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University where he served through summer 2019.

Following service in the United States Army, Livingston received a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of South Florida (1982) and a master's (1984) and Ph.D. (1990) in political science from the University of Washington. He joined the faculty of the George Washington University in 1991. From 1992 – 93, Livingston was a Social Science Research Council Senior Research Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies, funded by the Ford Foundation. In 1995, he received funding from the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation to investigate the role of the military and the media in humanitarian crises. In 1996, he was a Research Fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Livingston also received a Goldsmith Award while at Harvard. In April 2004, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, declined to assume SMPA directorship.

Livingston has lectured at the National Defense University, the Army War College, the Strategic Studies Group at the Naval War College, the Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the U.S. Institute for Peace, European Institute of Diplomacy, Vienna, the Foreign Service Institute, the U.S. Department of State, and at universities and think tanks in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He has appeared on CNN, CNNI, ABC, CBC, BBC, Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera International and many other news organizations commenting on public policy and politics. He has also been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Economist and many other newspapers around the world. He has written for Newsday, USA Today and La Stampa in Rome. His research and consulting activities have led to extended stays in Northern Ireland, Russia, Eastern and Central Europe, the Middle East, South Asia and East and Central Africa. At the invitation of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, he was twice in Iraq in 2008 and once again in 2009. At the invitation of the Canadian government and NATO, he was in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010. He has advised a wide range of governments, the UN and NGOs on matters relating to international affairs, media, technology, and public opinion dynamics.

Among other publications, Livingston has written “Clarifying the CNN Effect,” a monograph published by Harvard University in 1996, and “The Terrorism Spectacle,” Westview Press, 1994, and “When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina,” co-authored by W. Lance Bennett and Regina Lawrence and published by University of Chicago Press, 2007. In 2011, following two months of field observation in several African countries, Livingston published “Africa's Evolving Infosystems: A Pathway to Security and Stability.” It assesses the effects of the rapid growth of ICT on governance in Africa. Also in 2011, he was a visiting scholar at the Freie Universitat-Berlin's Research Program on Areas of Limited Statehood. He is writing another book, “Networked Governance: Knowledge, Technology and Global Governance in the 21st Century,” working title).