Harley D Balzer


Emeritus Professor


Department of Government
General profile



+1 202-687-1216

Alt. phone





673 ICC

Office hours

T 3:00-4:00 or by appointment


Harley Balzer is Associate Professor of Government and International Affairs and an Associate Faculty Member of the Department of History at Georgetown University. From 1987 to August 2001 he served as Director of the University’s Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies

Dr. Balzer earned a BA in History and Political Science Magna Cum Laude at Washington University (St. Louis) and MA and PhD degrees in History from the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught at Grinnell College and Boston University, and has held post-doctoral fellowships at the Harvard university Russian Research Center and at MIT's Program in Science, Technology and Society. During 1982-83 he was a Congressional Fellow in the office of Congressman Lee Hamilton, where his duties included helping to secure Congressional authorization of the Soviet and East European Research and Training Act of 1983 (now known as Title VIII), legislation that has provided approximately $5 million per year for study of the Soviet Bloc and its successor states. During 1996-97 he was a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the US Institute of Peace.

During 1993 Dr. Balzer took a partial leave from Georgetown to serve as Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of the International Science Foundation, an organization established by George Soros to disburse $100 million to support basic science in the countries of the former Soviet Union. He was responsible for ISF’s program of peer-reviewed research grants and its telecommunications initiative, which evolved into a separate, $130 million program. Since 1997 he has been a member of the Governing Council of the Basic Research and Higher Education Program for Russian universities, administered by the Civilian Research and Development Foundation with funding from the MacArthur Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York and Russian Ministry of Education. The program currently supports 16 centers for research and education at universities in 15 cities across Russia.

Dr. Balzer’s research interests include political economy, Russian domestic politics, education, Russian and Soviet social history, science and technology, and US-Russian relations.

He is currently completing work on three major projects. One is a comparative analysis of Russian and Chinese integration with the global economy. The second, focusing on current Russian political conditions, is tentatively titled “Russia’s Dilemmas: Putin, Population and Petroleum.” The third deals with financing higher education in The Russian Empire, the USSR, and the Russian Federation, with the working title “State-Private Partnerships in Russian Higher Education: Historical Models and Current Policy.”

Dr. Balzer twice lived in the Soviet Union for a year under the auspices of IREX, Fulbright-Hays and the Academy of Sciences. He travels regularly to Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union.


  • Ph.D. (1980) University of Pennsylvania, History
  • M.A. (1973) University of Pennsylvania, History
  • B.A. (1969) Washington University (St. Louis, Mo.), History and Political Science