Global Philanthropy and U.S. Foreign Policy: Impacts at Home and Abroad

The Division of International Studies and the School of Human Ecology invite you to

Global Philanthropy and U.S. Foreign Policy: Impacts at Home and Abroad


Joan E. Spero

Visiting Fellow, Foundation Center
Former president, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Wednesday, May 6
4151 Grainger Hall (Directors Room)
975 University Ave. [map]

Private U.S. foundations have an extraordinary history of international involvement, from helping to build a democratic Japan after the Second World War, to furthering the Green Revolution in Latin America and Asia, to supporting anti-apartheid groups in South Africa.

Today they are instrumental in supporting HIV/AIDS research, addressing climate change, and even in furthering informal diplomatic relations with Iran.

What is the role of philanthropy in the American political system? Who governs foundations, and how? Have foundations supported American foreign policy or followed their own interests? How do they operate abroad? What has been their impact?

Join Joan Spero, UW–Madison alumna and an expert in philanthropic issues, as she tackles these and other questions.

Registration by April 30 is requested.

For more information contact: or 262-5590

Joan E. Spero is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Foundation Center, which works to strengthen the non-profit sector through research and education. From 1997 to 2008, she served as president of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation which makes grants in the performing arts, environmental preservation, medical research, and prevention of child abuse.

Spero served in the U.S. Department of State as Undersecretary for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs (1993-1997) and as Ambassador to the United Nations for Economic and Social Affairs (1980-1981). She was a corporate executive at American Express Company (1981-1993) and an assistant professor at Columbia University (1973-1979). Spero graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Columbia University.

Spero has authored several books and articles in professional journals and is active in professional associations in foreign affairs and economics. She is a director of IBM and ING; serves as a trustee of Columbia University, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.