Dr. Cynthia J. Arnson is director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.  Her most recent work has focused on democratic governance, conflict resolution, citizen security and organized crime, international relations, and U.S. policy in the Western hemisphere. Arnson is a member of the editorial advisory board of Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica, the Spanish-language edition of the distinguished journal Foreign Affairs.  She is a member of the advisory boards of Human Rights Watch/Americas and the Social Science Research Council’s Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum.  She served as associate director of the Americas division from 1990-1994, covering Central America and Colombia.  In the early 1980s, as a consultant to Americas Watch, Arnson wrote many of the organization’s first reports on human rights conditions in El Salvador.

Arnson is the editor of In the Wake of War:  Democratization and Internal Armed Conflict (Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Stanford University Press, 2012); and co-editor, with Carlos de la Torre, of Latin American Populism in the 21st Century (Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).  She is editor of Comparative Peace Processes in Latin America (Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Stanford University Press, 1999), co-editor (with I. William Zartman) of Rethinking the Economics of War:  The Intersection of Need, Creed, and Greed (Woodrow Wilson Center Press and The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), and author of Crossroads:  Congress, the President, and Central America, 1976-1993 (2d ed., Penn State Press, 1993).  Since joining the Wilson Center’s Latin American Program in 1994, she has written or edited scores of Woodrow Wilson Center publications on Colombia and the Andean region, Central America, Argentina, Venezuela, China-Latin American relations, citizen security and organized crime, energy, human rights, and U.S. policy in the Western hemisphere. 

Arnson served as an assistant professor of international relations at American University's School of International Service, 1989-1991.  As a foreign policy aide in the House of Representatives during the Carter and Reagan administrations, she participated in the national debates over U.S. policy and human rights in the Southern Cone and in Central America.  Arnson graduated magna cum laude from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and has an M.A. and Ph.D. in International Relations from The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.


Ph.D., International Relations, and M.A., Latin American Studies, The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies; B.A., Government, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT


Colombia,Conflict Resolution,Democratic Governance,Human Rights,Latin America,U.S. Foreign Policy


American Fellow, American Association of University of Women Educational Foundation


Frequent writer and lecturer on Colombia and U.S. policy in Latin America; professor, American University; legislative assistant, U.S. House of Representatives; Associate Director, Human Rights Watch/Americas


Latin America, with particular emphasis on Colombia; democratic governance and the "New Left" in Latin America; human rights; conflict resolution; U.S. policy toward Latin America