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Stephen Ryan Kelly
Visiting Professor of the Practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy
Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative


Other, Duke University (2010)
M.S., National Defense University (1995)
A.B., Cornell University (1972)


Stephen R. Kelly argues tightening the US/Mexico border requires more cooperation, not less:

Canada turns 150. Why should we care? Stephen R. Kelly explains.


Stephen R. Kelly is a Visiting Professor of the Practice at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. His specialty areas are energy, security, and North American issues, including trade, immigration and border management. He arrived at Duke in 2008 as the U.S. State Department Diplomat in Residence, and liked teaching so much he stayed on after officially retiring from the U.S. Foreign Service at the end of 2010.

During his 28-year Foreign Service career Kelly served at seven foreign postings on four continents. From 2004 to 2006, Kelly was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to Mexico, one of the largest U.S. diplomatic establishments in the world. He focused in particular on the myriad border issues with Mexico, growing law enforcement and immigration problems, and on efforts to further North American integration.  From 2000-2004 Kelly was Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Mission to Canada. He also served as Consul General in Quebec City from 1995-1998, where he was the chief U.S. reporting officer on the Quebec Sovereignty Referendum of October 1995.

Other overseas postings include the Netherlands as political counselor, Indonesia as human rights officer, Belgium as a political and consular officer, and Mali, in West Africa, as a management officer.

Kelly is a graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and holds a master’s degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College in Washington, D.C. His foreign languages are French, Spanish, Dutch, Indonesian and incipient Chinese. Before joining the Foreign Service, he served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Zaire and as a journalist for various U.S. newspapers, notably the Charlotte Observer, for whom he was the Raleigh and later Washington correspondent.

Representative Publications

Kicking Greece Out of a Borderless Europe The Huffington Post (09/2015)
When Mexicans crossed our border to feed Americans in need Washington post (Washington, D.C. : 1974) (08/2015)
Our DMZ With Mexico The Huffington Post (06/2015)

Selected Grants