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Benjamin Schmitt

Senior Fellow, Democratic Resilience

Dr. Benjamin L. Schmitt, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Project Development Scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.  At Harvard, Benjamin focuses on the development of instrumentation and infrastructure for next-generation Antarctic experimental cosmology facilities at the South Pole.  For this work, Schmitt traveled to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica in early 2020.  From 2015-2019 Benjamin served as European Energy Security Advisor at the U.S. Department of State where he advanced diplomatic engagement vital to the energy and national security interests of the Transatlantic community, with a focus on supporting the resilience of NATO’s Eastern Flank as it faced Russian malign energy activities and disinformation campaigns.  While at the State Department, Schmitt also served as the 2015 IEEE Department of State Science and Technology Policy fellow.

Benjamin has been an invited lecturer on European national security issues, advanced energy technologies, and science and technology policy, including with the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Princeton University, the Stanford CISAC European Security Initiative, the University of Pennsylvania, and National Defense University.  Schmitt is partnered with the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies "Rethinking Diplomacy" Project to advance research focused on better integrating practitioners of science and technology into the senior U.S. national security and foreign policy enterprise.

Benjamin continues to publish Transatlantic national security analysis, including with the Daily Beast, Newsweek, the Hill, the Atlantic Council, Harvard International Review, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, Jamestown Foundation, and Center for European Policy Analysis. Schmitt regularly provides expert transatlantic security policy commentary for both print and television media, including with the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, the Daily Beast, Voice of America, Germany’s Deutsche Welle and Bild Zeitung, and Ukraine’s Kyiv Post.  Benjamin is a past recipient of the Amicus Poloniae Award, a recognition by the Government of the Republic of Poland for outstanding efforts to promote the development of cooperation between the Republic of Poland and the United States of America.  Benjamin has also been honored as “Ukraine’s Friend of the Week” by Kyiv Post, and has received both Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards from the U.S. Department of State.

Before entering government, Schmitt served as a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow while pursuing doctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania.  His dissertation research focused on the development of next-generation millimeter-wavelength imaging technologies for the temperature and polarization mapping of the Cosmic Microwave Background from the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile, for which he received both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in experimental physics. Schmitt has also previously served as a U.S. Fulbright Research Fellow to the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany.  Benjamin holds a B.S. in Physics and Astronomy, and a B.A. in both Mathematics and Modern German Languages and Cultures from the University of Rochester.

Benjamin is an Eastman School of Music trained opera singer with multiple leading operatic roles on his resume, as well as having performed the national anthem of both the U.S. and many European nations at European embassy national days in Washington over the past five years.  He resides in Boston, Massachusetts.

Written by Benjamin Schmitt

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