Alexander Cooley is the Claire Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University (on-leave in Spring 2022) and an Academy Adjunct Faculty member at Chatham House. From 2015 to 2021 he served as the 13th Director of Columbia University's Harriman Institute for the Study of Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe.
Professor Cooley’s research examines how external actors—including emerging powers, international organizations, multinational companies, NGOs, and Western enablers of grand corruption—have influenced the development, governance and sovereignty of the former Soviet states, with a focus on Central Asia and the Caucasus. Cooley is the author and/or editor of eight academic books including, Dictators without Borders: Power and Money in Central Asia (Yale University Press 2017), co-authored with John Heathershaw, and more recently, Exit from Hegemony: the Unravelling of the American Global Order (Oxford University Press, 2020), co-authored with Daniel Nexon.
In addition to his academic research, Professor Cooley serves on several international advisory boards engaged with the region and has testified for the United States Congress and Helsinki Commission. Cooley's opinion pieces have appeared in New York Times, Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs and his research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Open Society Foundations, Carnegie Corporation, and the German Marshall Fund of the United States, among others. Cooley earned both his MA and Ph.D. from Columbia University.