Lisa Curtis

Lisa Curtis

Senior Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center, Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy

Areas of Expertise

  • Terrorism
  • Asia
  • Global Politics
  • Middle East

Lisa focuses on U.S. national security interests and regional geopolitics as senior research fellow on South Asia.

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Lisa Curtis focuses on U.S. national security interests and regional geopolitics as senior research fellow on South Asia in The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center.

Her research centers on the U.S.-India strategic and defense partnership, U.S. counterterrorism policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and trends in Islamist extremism and religious freedom throughout the region.

Lawmakers and journalists alike turn to Curtis for her clear-eyed research and perspective on U.S. interests in some of the most desperate, dangerous, and fast-developing parts of the world.  She has testified before Congress on about 20 occasions regarding topics related to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Islamist extremism, and America’s image abroad.

Curtis has commented on developments in South Asia during appearances on major broadcast and cable networks, including CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CBS, PBS, and BBC. She also has been quoted or cited by dozens of news publications.

Her commentary has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Foreign Policy, The National Interest, and, as well in South Asian publications such as the Hindu, Mint, Express Tribune, News, Friday Times, and Outlook.

Curtis regularly travels to the South Asia region to participate in conferences. She  has contributed chapters to books and academic journals, including a chapter on India in “Population Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics,” edited by Susan Yoshihara and Douglas A. Sylva (Potomac Books, 2011) and an article on Pakistan’s foreign policy in Contemporary South Asia (June 2012).

Before joining Heritage in August 2006, Curtis worked for the U.S. government on South Asian issues for 16 years. From 2003 to 2006, she was a member of the professional staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where she was in charge of the South Asia portfolio for the chairman at the time, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.).

From 2001 to 2003, Curtis was the White House-appointed senior adviser to the assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, where she helped develop policy to manage Indo-Pakistani tensions. Before that, she worked as an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency and, in the mid-1990s, served as a diplomat in the U.S. embassies in Pakistan and India.

A native of Fort Wayne, Ind., Curtis received a bachelor's degree in economics at Indiana University. She currently resides in Herndon, Va., with her husband and two children.