Carnegie Corporation of New York
Program Director, Islam Initiative, International Program
Hillary Wiesner joined the Corporation in 2007 as Director of the Islam Initiative, a renewed, transdisciplinary program to enhance understanding of the diversity of thought, cultures and history in the Muslim world.
Prior to joining the Corporation, she was an international civil servant in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO-Paris), where she served as Senior Executive Officer and Secretary of the Directorate until the end of 2006. She handled relations with the United States for the Director-General during that organization's reforms and the United States' consideration of a return to membership. During this time, the United States rejoined the organization after 19 years of non-membership.
Before moving to France, she spent many years studying the history, religions and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. She holds a B.A. in religion from Harvard, an M.A. from the University of Chicago on the Ancient Mediterranean World, and a Ph.D. from Harvard's Committee on the Study of Religion with a focus on the continuity, interactions and syncretism seen in ancient monuments and texts, and teaching experience in Early Christianity, Classics and Greco-Roman religion. She worked on Aristotelian and Neoplatonic thought from the Hellenistic period to the great philosophers of Islam - including the translation of Greek philosophy into Arabic in the 9th century - in Cairo, Rome, Jerusalem and London, with excavation experience in Turkey. She has also written on dialogue and ethics across cultures, women and religion, religion and science, tolerance and human rights.