Carey Cavanaugh is currently professor of diplomacy and conflict resolution at the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, having served as this program's director from 2006-2016. His return to academia followed a 22-year diplomatic career at the US Department of State focused on peace and humanitarian issues.
At the Patterson School, Cavanaugh offers graduate courses and seminars on diplomacy, nuclear weapons, mediation and conflict resolution, US-Russia relations, cross-cultural understanding and international ethics. His policy writing and research center on diplomacy and mediation, with a strong focus on peace efforts in the South Caucasus. He is a periodic contributor to ETH Zürich's advanced studies program to prepare future peace mediators.
Cavanaugh served repeatedly as a senior scholar for IREX and was on the advisory council for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Kennan Institute. He was a founding board member of the bipartisan Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship. While on sabbatical, Cavanaugh was executive-in-residence at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge’s Clare College. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
As Patterson School director, he bolstered the school's international commerce curriculum and expanded dramatically the immersive opportunities provided to all students. In this 18-month masters degree program, all students now typically engage in conflict negotiations exercises with the US Army War College, a crisis simulation, and visit over a dozen corporations, government agencies, and NGOs. Examples of these co-curricular activities include corporate briefings at the headquarters of Boeing, Delta Air Lines, and Eli Lilly; observation of manufacturing operations of US Steel, Toyota, and Volkswagen; meetings with key officials at the State Department, Pentagon, and US Senate; exploring nuclear nonproliferation policy at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex; visiting NGOs like CARE, the Carter Center, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and talking with troops at Fort Benning, Fort Knox or Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. In 2015-2018, Cavanaugh also arranged for Patterson School students to participate in host-government-paid study trips to Qatar and Japan.
Cavanaugh was born in Jacksonville, Florida and raised in its three beaches. He majored in Russian Language and Literature at the University of Florida, but shifted in graduate school at Notre Dame to Government and International Affairs, with a particular focus on Soviet and East European Studies. He later attended the US Army Russian Institute in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and was a fellow in MIT's Seminar XXI. Cavanaugh speaks German and Russian.