E-mail: mhaltzel@jhu.edu Areas of Expertise:
  • US Politics
  • Balkans
  • Finland
  • NATO
  • Russia
  • Germany

Michael H. Haltzel has been Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR) of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) since 2006.  In 2015-16 while on leave from CTR, he worked in Helsinki as Visiting Senior Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

Dr. Haltzel came to CTR after a long career in public service capped by his tenure from 1994 to 2005 as Democratic Staff Director of the Subcommittee on European Affairs of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and senior foreign policy advisor to U.S. Vice President (then-Senator) Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

At the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Dr. Haltzel’s duties included policy formulation; drafting foreign affairs legislation; oversight of foreign assistance funds; preparing hearings on nominations, treaties, and matters related to Europe, NATO, the EU, and the OSCE; and writing speeches and articles.  He was the lead Democratic staffer on NATO and Balkan policy and, as such, was deeply involved in NATO enlargement and in the Bosnia and Kosovo campaigns.  He frequently represented the Foreign Relations Committee in the U.S. and abroad and held a TS/SCI security clearance.

From 1992 to 1994, Dr. Haltzel served as Chief of the European Division of the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library.  In that position he supervised a staff of twenty specialists and directed the recommendation of acquisitions for the Library’s collections on the countries of continental Europe, the Division’s comprehensive reference and research services, the publication of collection guides and bibliographies, and the presentation of exhibits, symposia, and lectures.

Dr. Haltzel went to the Library of Congress in 1992 after seven years as Director of West European Studies of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution, an institute for advanced study established by the U.S. Congress as the nation’s official memorial to its 28th President.  There he planned, raised funding for, and chaired major international conferences, and recruited as Fellows prominent scholars and political figures from around the world.  Haltzel raised several million dollars from European and American foundations and corporations for program activities.  Earlier in his career, from 1982 to 1984, Dr. Haltzel served as Vice President for Academic Affairs of Longwood College, one of Virginia’s fifteen state colleges and universities, where he was responsible for a multi-million dollar budget and supervised a faculty of 160 and an academic staff of several hundred.

After earning a doctorate from Harvard in 1971, Haltzel taught Russian and German history for four years at Hamilton College in upstate New York.  In 1975 he was named Deputy Director of the newly created Aspen Institute Berlin in West Berlin, Germany.  Dr. Haltzel initiated and developed the Aspen Institute’s relations with Eastern European communist countries and the Soviet Union, created and then directed a publications program, and worked with the Director on program development and liaison with German corporations and universities and the West Berlin city government.

While at the Aspen Institute in 1976-78, Dr. Haltzel served as an appointee of the U.S. Government on the Fulbright Commission in the Federal Republic of Germany.  In 1982 he was part of the “American Opinion Leaders” delegation to Germany and in 1993, 2000, and 2006 a member of the U.S. Congressional delegations to the Munich Wehrkunde Security Conference.  In the winter of 1991, Dr. Haltzel was a Guest Professor at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Ebenhausen, Germany.

His other full-time positions have included Senior Advisor at McLarty Associates, an international consulting firm; Senior Foreign Policy Advisor and Principal of DLA Piper US LLP, an international business law firm; Senior Vice President of the International Management and Development Institute; and Associate at Russell Reynolds Associates, an executive recruiting firm.

Other pro bono positions have included member of the Committee on Finnish-American Academic Cooperation (1982-84), public member of the review panel on the worldwide field presence of the United States Information Agency (1992), and member of the U.S. delegation to the inauguration of Serbian President Boris Tadić (2004).  Dr. Haltzel is a member of the Cosmos Club and its International Relations Committee and also serves on the advisory boards of Our Military Kids and the European Institute.

Dr. Haltzel has a long and varied association with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  As a member of the U.S. delegation to the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE (now OSCE) he helped write the seminal 1990 Copenhagen Document.  In September 1996, he worked as an OSCE supervisor for the first national elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  In 2009-10, Dr. Haltzel returned temporarily to U.S. Government service as Head of the U.S. Delegations to three OSCE Review Conferences in Warsaw (September/October 2009), Copenhagen (June 2010), and Vienna (October 2010).  His report on U.S. views on strengthening the OSCE was published in April 2016.

Dr. Haltzel has lectured and taught in North and South America, Europe, and Asia.  For four weeks in April 1989 as Visiting Scholar of the China International Cultural Exchange Center he taught at institutes of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and universities in Beijing, Urumqi, and Shanghai.  In April 1993, Dr. Haltzel returned to China to deliver lectures in Beijing and Tianjin.  Dr. Haltzel’s other major speeches include for the USIA in Madrid (March 1990), Tokyo and Taipei (September 1991), at the Assemblée Nationale in Paris (May 2000), to the Political Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Copenhagen (November 2005), in Berlin to Christian Democrat Members of the Deutscher Bundestag (October 2006), to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna (May 2009), at the Forte de Copacabana International Security Conference in Rio de Janeiro (November 2008), at the “Croatia 2010 Summit” in Dubrovnik (July 2010), at the World Affairs Council in Salt Lake City (October 2012), and at the Bruno Kreisky Forum in Vienna (May 2016).  His Congressional testimonies include before the Helsinki Commission in March 2008 on NATO enlargement and in July 2011 on the future of the OSCE.

Dr. Haltzel is a long-time member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  He chaired the Council’s study group on nationalities and ethnic conflict in Europe (1992-93) and was a member of its Euro-American Strategy Group (1993-95), the Independent Task Force on Promoting Sustainable Economies in the Balkans (1999-2000), and the Council’s Task Force “Balkans 2010″ (2001-02).

A historian, Haltzel has written extensively on the Baltic provinces of Tsarist Russia.  His book, Der Abbau der deutschen ständischen Selbstverwaltung in den Ostseeprovinzen Russlands, 1855-1905 (Marburger Ostforschungen, 1977), won critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.  He is also co-author of Russification in the Baltic Provinces and Finland, 1855-1914 (Princeton University Press, 1981), is editor of a book on the European collections of the Library of Congress and co-editor of books on Finland, Spain, Portugal, Northern Ireland, the neutral countries of Europe, the French Revolution, and the idea of liberty in France and America.  Dr. Haltzel has written several dozen refereed articles in scholarly journals on international affairs, Russian and Baltic history, and higher education.  His Op-Ed pieces and feature articles have appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, POLITICO, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report and other newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Europe. Dr. Haltzel is a blogger for the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-haltzel/) and is a frequent commentator in English and German on American and European radio and television.

Haltzel received a B.A. magna cum laude with honors in history from Yale, where he was a member of Berzelius and played football, basketball, and tennis for Timothy Dwight College.  He earned an M.A. in Soviet Studies and Ph.D. in history, both from Harvard.  His foreign study has included periods at the Freie Universität Berlin, the Herder-Institut in Marburg, and the Helsinki University Library.  Dr. Haltzel has received numerous academic awards and fellowships, among them the Woodrow Wilson, Yale-Berlin, Fulbright, Carnegie, Howland, N.D.F.L., Harvard Russian Research Center, and Social Science Research Council – American Council of Learned Societies.  He speaks German and Russian.

Dr. Haltzel is the recipient of state decorations from seven countries of the European Union:  the Grand Decoration of Honor in Silver (Austria), the Knighthood of the Order of the Lion of Finland, the Officer’s Cross Order of Merit (Hungary), the Order of the Three Stars (Latvia), the Grand Cross of Commander of the Order of Grand Duke Gediminas (Lithuania), the Star of Romania, and the Knighthood of the Royal Order of the Polar Star (Sweden).  Dr. Haltzel’s biographic listings have included Who’s Who in America.

He has been married to the former Helen Scull Hitchman since 1966.  The Haltzels live in Fairfax County, Virginia.  They have two children and three grandchildren.