Brian Hanson

Vice President, Studies

Areas of expertise: Policy & Politics


Brian comes to the Council from the Buffett Institute at Northwestern University where he has served for the past 12 years, most recently as its director of programs, research and strategic planning. The Buffett Institute addresses critical global issues through collaborative research, public dialogue, and engaged scholarship.  While at the Institute, Brian increased the size, scale, and impact of the Institute’s work by engaging more than 200 faculty affiliates and 30 centers for research. Brian also cultivated and solicited major donors, which in 2015 resulted in a $100 million gift to Northwestern – the largest gift awarded to the University at that time. He also has served as a lecturer in Northwestern’s department of political science and international studies program. Before coming to Northwestern, Brian spent a number of years in Washington, DC working in the policy arena at the government affairs office of Deere & Company and as a foreign policy advisor for US Senator Alan Dixon (IL).

Brian serves on the board and in leadership roles for a number of organizations addressing global politics and development – including the Stanley Foundation, the Holthues Trust, The Foundation for Sustainable Development, and GlobeMed, an independent national organization founded at the Buffett Institute dedicated to global health equity. Brian is closely connected to and familiar with the Council on Global Affairs as a member of the Studies and Programs Committees.

Brian received his BA with high honors in Political Science from Grinnell University and conducted doctoral studies in political science at MIT.

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