Joan E. Spero

Joan E. Spero served as President of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation from January 1997 until December 2008. As President, she is responsible for establishing and directing the activities of the $1.7 billion foundation, which is dedicated to supporting national grantmaking programs in the performing arts, environmental preservation, medical research and prevention of child abuse. Ms. Spero also serves as President of several operating foundations created by Doris Duke in her will and during her lifetime that are supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. These foundations, based at Miss Duke's residences, include the Duke Farms Foundation in New Jersey and the Foundation for Islamic Art located in Hawaii.

From 1993-1997, Ms. Spero served as Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs. As Under Secretary, she played a central role in formulating the Clinton Administration's foreign economic policy. She was an assistant professor at Columbia University from 1973-1979. Ms. Spero is the author of The Politics of International Economic Relations and The Failure of the Franklin National Bank: Challenges to the International Banking System. From 1980-1981, she served as US Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. From 1981-1993, she was an executive at the American Express Company, where her last position was Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Communications.

She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin and holds a Master's degree in international affairs and a doctorate in political science from Columbia University. She also has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Amherst College. Ms. Spero also studied at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris and is fluent in French. Ms. Spero serves as a Trustee of Columbia University, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; and is a Director of First Data Corporation and IBM.

Ambassadorial Post(s)

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) , (1980 - 1981)

Areas of Expertise