Professor Harrison came to GW in 1999 after having taught at Brandeis University and Lafayette College. She is an Associate Professor of History & International Affairs. Dr. Harrison is an expert on Germany, the Cold War, and Russia. She served as Associate Dean of Research at the Elliott School (Aug. 2015-Dec. 2016) and has directed the Elliott School’s Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (2005-2009) and the Program on Conducting Archival Research (2001-2011). She served as Director for European and Eurasian Affairs on the National Security Council in the Clinton and Bush Administrations from 2000-200. She was also the White House representative to the April 2001 peace talks between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Key West, Florida.
Dr. Harrison received a B.A in Social Studies from Harvard University and obtained her M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University, including a Certificate from the Harriman Institute. She speaks German and Russian. Prof. Harrison has held numerous research fellowships, including from Fulbright (in Berlin, Germany at the Federal Foundation for Reappraising the SED Dictatorship), the Wilson Center, the Norwegian Nobel Institute, the Davis Center and the Belfer Center at Harvard, the Center for Contemporary History in Potsdam, Germany, and the American Academy in Berlin. Her book, Driving the Soviets Up the Wall: Soviet-East German Relations, 1953-1961 (Princeton University Press, 2003), won the Marshall Shulman prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies in 2004. It was released in German by Propylaen Verlag for the 50th anniversary of the building of the Wall in 2011 as Ulbrichts Mauer: Wie die SED Moskaus Widerstand gegen den Mauerbau brach. Prof. Harrison's next book will be published by Cambridge University Press in fall 2019 for the 30th anniversary of the toppling of the Berlin Wall: After the Berlin Wall: Memory and the Making of the New Germany, 1989 to the Present.
As an expert on the Cold War, Germany, and Russia, Dr. Harrison is regularly featured in the media (CNN, BBC, History Channel, Deutschlandradio, CCTV, the Washington Post, and others) and in documentary films in the US and Europe. She has been invited to give lectures in the U.S., Canada, Russia, China, and throughout Europe. She serves on the board of three museums or memorials in Berlin: the Berlin Wall Association, the Allied Museum, and the Cold War Center at Checkpoint Charlie. She has won grants from the Mellon Foundation to establish and run a Summer Institute on Conducting Archival Research for doctoral students and from the EU for a series of workshops and events at GW to expand knowledge about the EU in DC. She is also on the board of the Foundation for German-American Scholarly Relations and a member of the Advisory Council of the Point Alpha Foundation in Geisa, Germany. Prof. Harrison is a member of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, the American Council on Germany, the Atlantik Bruecke, the German Studies Association, and the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies.