Dr. Patrick Mendis is an affiliate professor of public and international affairs (PIA) and an adjunct professor of geography and geoinformation Science (GGS) at George Mason University. He served as the vice president of academic affairs at the Robert Osgood Center for International Studies and a visiting foreign policy scholar at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). While at SAIS, he authored two books: TRADE for PEACE (foreword by Professor Brian Atwood, dean of the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota) and Commercial Providence: The Secret Destiny of the American Empire (foreword by Professor Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, president emeritus of the George Washington University). A fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, Dr. Mendis serves as an editor of The Public Manager and a member of the Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Board in Washington, D.C.
Before returning to academia, Professor Mendis served as an American diplomat at the U.S. Department of State where he chaired a number of U.S. interagency policy working groups including the intellectual property rights, managed the Department’s international educational and cultural programs, advised the U.S. Delegations to the United Nations, coordinated the science and technology policy with the White House, and served as vice chair of the Secretary Colin Powell’s Open Forum. After his diplomatic assignment, for which he earned the Department’s Meritorious Honor Award and the Benjamin Franklin Award, Dr. Mendis served as a consulting economist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Center for Global Security Research (CGSR) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Prior to joining the State Department, he served as a military professor in the NATO and Pacific Commands of the U.S. Department of Defense through the University of Maryland. He also lectured at the George Shultz Foreign Service Institute and served as a board member of the USDA Graduate School, an appointment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the White House.
Dr. Mendis was a visiting professor of economics and public policy at the University of Pittsburgh’s Semester at Sea program and authored a book based on his voyage, Glocalization: The Human Side of Globalization as If the Washington Consensus Mattered (foreword by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the late science-fiction writer). His other professional and teaching experience includes positions in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the World Bank, and the United Nations as well as in the Universities of Minnesota, Norwich, Columbia, Yale, and the George Washington University.
As a 21st Century Trust fellow, Dr. Mendis attended Oxford University’s Merton College and is an alumnus of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He earned his PhD in geography and applied economics from the University of Minnesota, MA in international development and foreign affairs from the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, and BS in business administration and economics (summa cum laude) from the University of Sri Lanka. He is the first recipient of the University of Maryland’s Stanley Drazek Teaching Excellence Award and the University Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey Award for Outstanding Leadership. Author of more than 100 books, journal articles, newspaper columns, and government reports, Dr. Mendis has lived, traveled, and worked in more than 80 countries and visited all 50 states. He and his family live in the Washington, D.C., area.