Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism created immediately following the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

He is also the Chairman of the Policy Committee of the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), an international, non-partisan organization based in Washington D.C. comprised of leading members of the national security community. The Daily Telegraph (U.K.) named May one of the “100 most influential conservatives in America” this year (as well as in its earlier tally).

Mr. May has had a long and distinguished career in international relations, journalism, communications and politics.
A veteran news reporter, foreign correspondent and editor (at The New York Times and other publications), he has covered stories in more than two dozen countries, including Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Uzbekistan, Northern Ireland and Russia. He is a frequent guest on national and international television and radio news programs, providing analysis and participating in debates on national security issues. He writes a weekly column that is nationally distributed by Scripps Howard News Service and he is a regular contributor for National Review Online, The American Spectator and other publications.
In 2006 he was appointed an advisor to the Iraq Study Group (Baker-Hamilton Commission) of the United States Institute of Peace, an independent nonpartisan national institution established and funded by Congress. He also received a two-year appointment to the bipartisan Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion, reporting to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  In 2009, the U.S. Department of State awarded him a “U.S. Speaker and Specialist Grant” for a series of speaking engagements and meetings (with government and religious leaders, academics and journalists) in Pakistan.
From 1997 to 2001, he served as the Director of Communications for the Republican National Committee. In that role, he was the Republican Party’s staff spokesman, and appeared frequently on national television and radio programs. In addition, he managed all RNC communications activities, including long-range strategic planning; press, radio and television services; online services; TV and radio coaching; speech writing; advertising and marketing. He also served as the Editor of the official Republican magazine, Rising Tide.

After leaving the RNC, he was named Senior Managing Director in the Washington, D.C. office of Weber Shandwick, a firm specializing in public affairs advocacy, public relations and media relations.
Prior to coming to the RNC, Mr. May was the Associate Editor of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado. While in Colorado, Mr. May hosted a talk radio program on the dominant station in the region, and produced and moderated an interview program on KRMA-TV (a PBS station). In addition, Mr. May served as host/moderator for the weekly, nationally distributed TCI cable television series, Race for the Presidency, which featured “resident analysts” Dick Lamm, Gary Hart and Don Hodel.
Before moving to Colorado Mr. May spent nearly a decade with The New York Times as a reporter in both New York and Washington, an editor of The New York Times Sunday Magazine and a foreign correspondent. He established the Times’ West Africa bureau and, as Bureau Chief, covered more than a score of African nations.
Earlier in his career, Mr. May was the Roving Foreign Correspondent for Hearst newspapers, reporting from a variety of global hotspots. During that same period, Mr. May provided special coverage for CBS Radio News and Bill Moyers’ Journal on PBS. Prior to that, Mr. May was Senior Editor of Geo Magazine, and an Associate Editor for international news at Newsweek.

He holds masters degrees from both Columbia University’s School of Public and International Affairs and its School of Journalism. He earned his BA from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y. In addition, he holds a certificate in Russian language and literature from Leningrad U.

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