Michael McFaul

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Michael McFaul was Barack Obama's ambassador to Russia.

Divestment from South Africa

Three Stanford Rhodes Scholars announced May 29, 1986, that they will turn their efforts next fall toward urging the Rhodes Trust to divest from South Africa related companies. Graduate student William Handley and seniors Michael McFaul and Susan Rice held a noon press conference to answer questions about the "Free South Africa Fund," an alternate repository for those who want to donate to Stanford but disagree with University investment policy. The three students, along with senior Laurie Edelstein, initiated work on the fund.

But the discussion at the conference turned to their commitment to urging the Rhodes Trust to divest. "When we meet other scholars in October, we will try to gain support for those efforts," McFaul said. Handley said they could face great difficulty because the British Parliament is partially responsible for administering the Rhodes Trust. "There are a lot of political considerations," he said. "Getting Rhodes scholarships didn't immediately sensitize us to this issue. We have been concerned about this for a long time," he said, arguing that "it's ridiculous to say that by accepting the scholarships we are being hypocritical." The three opened their remarks by urging donors who oppose Stanford's investments in South Africa related companies to deposit money in the "Free South Africa Fund" rather than giving directly to the University. The scholars announced its establishment to coincide with Stanford's Centennial fund-raising campaign.

Rice said, "As Stanford students we are especially outraged that the institution from which we benefit buttresses the apartheid regime."[1]

From a letter to the Stanford Daily 30 May 1986:

In the spring of next year, when independent, non-profit status has been attained, the fund will be transferred to a legal trust overseen by a board including the following people: Keith Archuleta, Office of Residential Education; St. Clair Drake, professor emeritus of anthropology; Laurie Edelstein, class of '86: James Lowell Gibbs, Jr.. professor of anthropology; William Gould, professor of law; Ronald Rebholz, professor of English; and ourselves.

We hope that there will be significant change both at Stanford and in South Africa long before 1996. The sooner such change comes, the more gladly and generously many of us will give to Stanford in its second century.

William Handley Senior, English and political science Michael McFaul Senior, international relations Susan Rice Senior, history.[2]

Tapped by Obama

With the presidential inauguration rapidly approaching. President-elect Barack Obama recruited a number of Stanford professors as advisers for his transition team. Among those selected advisers include Profs. Linda Darling-Hammond, Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, Michael McFaul, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall and Peter Blair Henry.

In the realm of national security, the Obama campaign has enlisted the help of two Stanford professors, Michael McFaul and Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. Currently, McFaul works with Sen. Obama's Chicago-based transition team as a member of the National Security Policy Working Group. During the presidential campaign. McFaul also served as chief advisor on Russia and Eurasia for Senator Obama. Following the Russian invasion of (Georgia, he advised on one of the few foreign policy issues that received substantial attention during the presidential debates. At Stanford, McFaul is the director of both the Center on Democracy and the Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), and is the Peter and Helen Ming Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Sherwood-Randall works with the National Security Team on the Department of Defense. At Stanford she is involved with the Freeman Spogli Institute's Center for International Security and Cooperation. Stanford also has a presence with in Obama's economic transition team with Prof. Peter Blair Henry, who has been appointed the leader of an Obama team that will review international lending agencies. Henry is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor in the Graduate School of Business and a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR).[3]


  1. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 189, Issue 73, 30 May 1986 ]
  2. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 189, Issue 73, 30 May 1986 ]
  3. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 234, Issue 47, 3 December 2008]