• Former Distinguished Fellow

Richard Stengel

Richard Stengel was a distinguished fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab).

Former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, TIME Managing Editor and author, Richard Stengel has seen and led the transformation of media in the private and the public sector. At State, he led the department’s efforts at countering both ISIS propaganda and Russian disinformation. Stengel remains centered at the crossroads of media, policy and politics – as a strategic adviser to Snapchat and an analyst on MSNBC – and is currently working on a book for Penguin Press on the global information war.

The longest serving Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs since the job was created in 1999, Stengel brought public diplomacy into the 21st century, modernizing State’s communications, expanding the department’s digital footprint, and ensuring that every embassy was on social media. 

At the State Department, Stengel launched and led numerous programs and initiatives, including the Global Engagement Center, the United States’ only stand-alone anti-disinformation entity, the Sawab Center in Abu Dhabi, the first joint American and foreign counter ISIL messaging hub – now a template for others around the world – and English for All, a government-wide effort that promotes teaching English abroad. He also oversaw all of the department’s extensive educational exchanges including the Fulbright Scholarship. 

Prior to the State Department, Stengel was the managing editor of TIME for seven years, transforming it into a digital and social media powerhouse on a global scale. He oversaw all print, digital, and international functions, and redesigned, re-focused and reinvigorated TIME. Under his stewardship, TIME won its first-ever Magazine of the Year Award as well as numerous other National Magazine Awards, including for general excellence. Stengel also won an Emmy for executive producing the TIME documentary: “Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience.” Before becoming managing editor of TIME, Stengel was President and CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.