Dr Fiona Hill was born in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, the daughter of a coal miner. She is an acclaimed foreign affairs specialist, author and former presidential advisor to George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. She served on the US National Intelligence Council from 2006 to 2009 and was a member of the US National Security Council from 2017 to 2019.
Fiona is, and will remain, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organisation based in Washington DC. It conducts in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.
After attending Bishop Barrington Comprehensive School, Bishop Auckland, Fiona pursued degree studies at St Andrew’s University, Scotland, graduating with a Master’s in Russian and Modern History. She holds a Master’s in Soviet Studies and a doctorate in History from Harvard University, USA, where she was a Frank Knox Fellow. She became a US citizen in 2002 and is married with one daughter.
Having, in her words, moved “literally from the coalhouse to the White House”, she is passionate about social mobility. She visited her former secondary school in June 2022 to give a talk to pupils. She encouraged them to grasp “every educational opportunity” they are given and spoke of her desire to “give back” to the area where she grew up.
“It is an immense privilege, surprise and honour to be selected as the next Chancellor of Durham University in the county where generations of my family have deep roots and where I spent my formative years.”