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About Alice

Known as an accomplished and high-impact leader and knowledge expert, Alice C. Hill offers an uncommon blend of experiences as a federal prosecutor, judge, special assistant to the President, and senior director for the National Security Council. At the White House under President Obama, she led the development of policy regarding national security and climate change, building climate resilience considerations and capabilities into international development and other federal initiatives, and developing national risk management standards for the most damaging natural hazards. Currently she serves as senior fellow for climate change policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, addressing risks, consequences, and responses associated with climate change impacts, including the cascading failure of infrastructure and social systems. 


Over her 30-year career, Hill has earned a reputation for integrity, courage, and judgement. Recognized as an approachable and participative leader – skilled in navigating and distilling complex matters with sensitivity, developing enduring partnerships, and fostering collaborative action. While serving the President, Hill led the development and approval of seven Presidential Executive Orders, a rare demonstration of consensus building, conflict resolution, and alignment of people, purpose, and process.


Early in her legal career, Hill served as chief of the major frauds division in California’s central district of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, supervising over 30 prosecutors handling multi-defendant cases of white-collar crime involving losses in the billions of dollars. She was honored with the Department of Justice’s highest accolade, the John Marshall Award for Outstanding Legal Achievement, for the successful prosecution of Charles Keating Jr. of Lincoln Savings and Loan. Then as judge and supervising judge within the Los Angeles Superior Court she was elected by her fellow judges to the committee responsible for overseeing all L.A. County court operations – 600 courtrooms, disposition of 2.7 million case filings each year, and an annual budget of $900 million.


In 2009, Hill became Senior Counselor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), helping guide senior leadership of DHS agencies, briefing Congress, and leading and establishing key programs. She oversaw review of policy regarding creation of the cyber-security workforce, sexual assault in the military, and legal requirements for terrorism protection; and she founded and led the internationally recognized anti-human trafficking initiative, Blue Campaign. Other accomplishments include guiding the realignment of DHS international presence in 42 countries and development of strategic plans and policies regarding catastrophic biological and chemical incidents, ranging from pandemics to weapons of mass destruction. In addition, Hill was an ex officio member of the Third National Climate Assessment and led the development of DHS's first-ever climate adaptation plan.


For three years beginning in 2013, Hill served in several positions for the National Security Council in the White House. With top-secret security clearance, she managed a team of eight National Security Council Directors and developed federal policies regarding national preparedness for all hazards of global consequence, including climate. She was honored with the Meta-Leader of the Year award from Harvard University’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative.  


Since September 2019, Alice Hill has served as Senior Fellow for Climate Change Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), conducting and publishing research, convening public policy leaders, and building the public conversation around the global threat of climate change. For almost three years prior to joining CFR, she was a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. She was honored for her work with the President’s Award from the National Institute of Building Sciences, and has been published in AxiosNewsweekForeign Policy, The Bridge, The HillLawFareCNNThe Bulletin and other media. She led development of the Hoover/Stanford Woods Institute/Wilson Center Partnership on Building Coastal Resilience for Greater US Security. In 2019, Oxford University Press published her book, co-authored with Leonardo Martinez, Building a Resilient Tomorrow. Yale University awarded her the 2020 Public Voices Fellowship on the Climate Crisis.


Hill earned her bachelor’s degree with distinction in history and economics from Stanford University, followed by a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Immediately upon her law school graduation, she served as a legal clerk to a federal district judge in Maryland and then spent three years in private practice, first as an associate with the law firm de Chambrun & Associates in Paris, France and then with the law firm Morrison & Foerster in Los Angeles.


Hill has earned certification from the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative of Harvard University School of Public Health and John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 2018, the Rockefeller Foundation awarded her its Academic Writing Fellowship at the Bellagio Center. In 2019, the National Cathedral School honored her with its Professional Achievement Award.


Hill is a Member of Boards of Directors and Audit Committees of the domestic subsidiaries of Munich Re Group. She served as Board Chair of the National Cathedral School in Washington following many years of board service there. She is a board member of the Environmental Defense Fund, member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, founding board member of the Council on Strategic Risks, and a member of the advisory board of One Concern. 

Alice Hill currently resides in Washington, D.C., also having enjoyed living and working in Italy, France, Japan, and Indonesia.

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