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Clifford D. May

Founder and President

Areas of Impact:

Arab Spring, Islamism, Pakistan, Israel, Iraq, Al Qaeda, Intelligence Community, Afghanistan, Palestinian Politics, Iran, Energy Security

Biography:

Clifford D. May is the founder and President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan policy institute focusing on national security created immediately following the 9/11/01 attacks on the United States. Under his leadership, FDD has become one of the nation’s most highly regarded think tanks and a sought-after voice on a wide range of national security issues. He has helped FDD to assemble a staff and advisory board of the most compelling scholars and experts whose ideas and research have helped shape important policies and legislation on terrorism, nonproliferation, human rights, Islamism, democratization and related issues.

In August 2016, Mr. May was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress in order to advance the pivotal right of religious freedom around the world and integrate religious freedom into America’s foreign policy.

Clifford D. May is the founder and President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan policy institute focusing on national security created immediately following the 9/11/01 attacks on the United States. Under his leadership, FDD has become one of the nation’s most highly regarded think tanks and a sought-after voice on a wide range of national security issues. He has helped FDD to assemble a staff and advisory board of the most compelling scholars and experts whose ideas and research have helped shape important policies and legislation on terrorism, nonproliferation, human rights, Islamism, democratization and related issues.

In August 2016, Mr. May was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress in order to advance the pivotal right of religious freedom around the world and integrate religious freedom into America’s foreign policy.

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 around the world, including from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Turkey, Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Northern Ireland, Nigeria, Mexico and Russia.

A former syndicated columnist for Scripps Howard News Services, he is now the weekly “Foreign Desk” columnist of The Washington Times. He is a frequent guest on national and international television and radio news programs, providing analysis and participating in debates on national security issues.

His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, National Review, Commentary, USA Today, The Atlantic and many other publications. He is the co-editor of a book on the conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as one on energy policy.

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 (2007-2009) to the bipartisan Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion, reporting to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In 2008, he was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the entity responsible for all US government and government sponsored, non-military, international broadcasting. 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.

He served as the Communications Director for the Republican National Committee during the historic 2000 cycle in which Republicans won the presidency, the Senate and the House for the first time in 48 years (as well as a majority of state legislatures and governors’ mansions).

Mr. May holds master’s degrees from both Columbia University’s School of International Affairs and its School of Journalism. His undergraduate degree is from Sarah Lawrence College, and he holds a certificate in Russian language and literature from Leningrad State University, USSR. He is a member of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs. He is married and has two children.

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Defining violent extremism down

18th January 2017 – The Washington Times

Defining violent extremism down

Clifford D. May

Death, where is thy sting? For Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, it certainly didn’t come from the mainstream media. The 82-year-old former Iranian president died of a heart attack earlier this month. The New York Times called him an “influential voice against hard-liners” and “a main voice in Iran calling for outreach to the West.” The Los Angeles Times said he had been “one of the most powerful allies of moderates in Tehran.” National Public Radio praised him as “a leading voice for reform.” The news section of The Wall Street Journal agreed that he was a “leading voice among moderate politicians.” more...

Analysis & Commentary

18th January 2017 – The Washington Times

Defining violent extremism down

Clifford D. May

Death, where is thy sting? For Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, it certainly didn’t come from the mainstream media. The 82-year-old former Iranian president died of a heart attack earlier this month. The New York Times called him an “influential voice against hard-liners” and “a main voice in Iran calling for outreach to the West.” The Los Angeles Times said he had been “one of the most powerful allies of moderates in Tehran.” National Public Radio praised him as “a leading voice for reform.” The news section of The Wall Street Journal agreed that he was a “leading voice among moderate politicians.” more...

10th January 2017 – The Washington Times

Lost in cyberspace

Clifford D. May

Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee was mischievous. Did it change the outcome of the 2016 elections? No evidence suggests that and the intelligence community isn’t claiming that. more...

6th January 2017 – Associated Press

Associated Press Radio

Clifford D. May

Clifford May discusses his recent column on Trump's first 100 days in office. more...

4th January 2017 – KOA Radio

The Mandy Connell Show

Clifford D. May

FDD President Clifford D. May discusses his recent column on cybersecurity. more...