Cynthia P. Schneider teaches, publishes, and organizes initiatives in the field of cultural diplomacy, with a focus on relations with the Muslim world. With the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), she is developing the Global Initiative for Cultural Diplomacy, which will aggregate existing research, commission new research, convene “Best Practice” meetings and build a library of “Best Practice” case studies, and develop a one year post graduate course in cultural diplomacy.
For the Brookings Institution she leads the Arts and Culture Initiative within the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. The Initiative’s activities include research, convening meetings in the U.S. and abroad, and catalyzing projects, such as the Muslims on Screen and Television Initiative, which Schneider co-directs, and which provides valuable resources and accurate information on Islam and Muslims for the U.S. entertainment community.
Prof. Schneider also teaches courses in Diplomacy and Culture in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where, from 1984-2005, she was a member of the art history faculty, and published on Rembrandt and seventeenth century Dutch art. She also organized exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Dr. Schneider publishes and speaks frequently on topic related to arts, culture, and media and international affairs, particularly the Muslim world. Her writings range from blogs for the Huffington Post to policy papers for the Brookings Institution. Her talks include a TED presentation on the global impact of American Idol as well as speeches on the role of arts and culture in the U.S. – Islamic world relationship in venues from Kurdistan to Cairo.
From 1998-2001 she served as U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, during which time she led initiatives in cultural diplomacy, biotechnology, cyber security, and education. In 2001 she was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Public Service Award, June 2001 (highest civilian award given by Pentagon, in recognition of support for the U.S. military during ambassadorship).
During the 1980s Dr. Schneider curated exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the National Gallery in Washington. She serves on the Board of Directors of Wesley Theological Seminary, and the Advisory Boards of the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy, the Sustainable Preservation Initiative, and Singapore Technologies Telemedia (ST Telemedia) Eircom Advisory Board. Schneider received her B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.