Keren Yarhi-Milo ’03GS Named Dean of SIPA

Today, President Lee C. Bollinger announced GS alumna Keren Yarhi-Milo '03 as the next dean of the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, a message that was shared with the GS community by Dean Lisa Rosen-Metsch.

May 23, 2022
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Dear Columbia GS students,

It is with tremendous excitement that I share the message below sent by President Bollinger earlier today announcing GS alumna Keren Yarhi-Milo ’03 as the new Dean of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. Beyond Keren’s numerous and prestigious academic achievements and recognitions that President Bollinger describes in detail, she and her partner Ariel Milo ’03GS, who is currently a member of our GS Board of Visitors, have been tireless and trusted supporters of GS students in the years since their graduation from our great School. We are so grateful for their frequent and active engagement in our alumni programming, joining panels and workshops for GS students and alumni, and active participation in our GS Alumni Association. In her role as Director of the Saltzman Institute, Keren has worked closely with the Columbia Center for Veteran Transition and Integration, hosting jointly-led discussions and panels on the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and the current war in Ukraine.

I am deeply grateful for all that Keren has done for our School and am beaming with pride  that she will have the opportunity to share her exceptional leadership and dedication with the SIPA community.  This is a momentous day for Columbia GS!


Lisa Rosen-Metsch, ’90GS
Dean, Columbia University School of General Studies
Professor of Sociomedical Sciences

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am delighted to announce my appointment of Keren Yarhi-Milo as the next Dean of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. Professor Yarhi-Milo is the Arnold A. Saltzman Professor of War and Peace Studies and Director of the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. She is an expert in international security and conflict resolution with a record of extensive leadership service at SIPA and across the University.

Professor Yarhi-Milo joined the Columbia faculty in 2019 after a decade at Princeton University, where she had been an Associate Professor of Politics and International Affairs. She graduated from Columbia’s School of General Studies in 2003 and earned her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.

Keren’s award-winning scholarship and teaching bridge the academic and policy worlds, focusing predominantly on how leaders make foreign policy decisions regarding the use of force. Her most recent books are Knowing the Adversary: Leaders, Intelligence, and Assessment of Intentions in International Relations and Who Fights for Reputation: The Psychology of Leaders in International Conflict. Drawing on cutting-edge insights from psychology, organizational theory, and behavioral economics, her work explores the complicated contexts that surround decision-making, signaling, and perception in international relations. Keren’s research also delves into the complexities of intelligence, the role of secrecy and deception in foreign policy, and the use of face-to-face diplomacy. All of her scholarship is grounded in an ongoing dialogue with policymakers, in which ideas and approaches are challenged and refined.

As Director of SIPA’s Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Keren has launched numerous ambitious initiatives to elevate SIPA’s academic offerings and engagement with the world’s most pressing challenges. Chief among them are her efforts with the Columbia Global Centers and the Committee on Forced Migration to help students and scholars displaced by the crisis in Afghanistan. This work was expanded in March to include those seeking refuge from the war in Ukraine. In 2021, she launched the Emerging Voices in National Security and Intelligence program to attract and support students from underrepresented backgrounds interested in pursuing careers in those fields. She has also spearheaded the Saltzman Student Scholar program and has served on the Committee of Appointments and Promotions and the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. Her University-wide leadership roles include serving on the Joint CC-GS Committee on Instruction, as a member of the University Senate, and as chair of the Arts and Sciences subcommittee exploring a potential College expansion.

I would like to thank the members of the search committee for their careful and skilled work in selecting the next Dean of SIPA, and to recognize Thomas Christensen for serving ably and expertly as Interim Dean.

A long-standing and devoted member of the Columbia community, Keren will be a wonderful addition to University leadership. Please join me in congratulating her on this appointment.

Lee C. Bollinger