Biography: Shawn Powers, Executive Director


Shawn Powers serves as the Executive Director of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, a body authorized by Congress to oversee and promote U.S. Government activities that intend to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics. He has a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC) and more than a decade of experience working at the nexus of public diplomacy, development, and national security.

Shawn’s career began in 2003 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he was a research assistant in the International Security Program. In 2004, he started his graduate work at USC and led a number of research projects on international broadcasting and global media at the Center on Public Diplomacy (CPD). Since 2010, Shawn has taught at Georgia State University, where he launched and directed its Center for Global Information Studies and remains an Associate Professor on leave.

As an academic, Shawn researched the geopolitics of information and technology and recently published (with Michael Jablonski) The Real Cyber War: A Political Economy of Internet Freedom (The University of Illinois Press, 2015). He has over 40 publications in academic and mainstream outlets, including The Washington Post, Guardian, and Huffington Post. Shawn previously worked with the Advisory Commission on its 2014 report, Data Driven Public Diplomacy, when he led a team of investigators in assessing the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ research and evaluation efforts. His research has been supported by grants from the British Council, Department of Defense, Department of State, European Commission, Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundation, and U.S. Institute of Peace, and he’s received fellowships from the London School of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Oxford, and Central European University.

Shawn received B.A.’s in International Affairs and Communication from the University of Georgia before earning his M.A. and Ph.D. from USC. He serves on the executive committee of the International Studies Association International Communication division, and has been invited to speak at the Al Jazeera Forum, Austrian Diplomatic Academy, British Broadcasting Corporation, Council on Foreign Relations, United Nations, World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, and over 30 universities.