Lee H. Hamilton is Director of The Center on Congress at Indiana University. Established in 1999, the Center is a non-partisan educational institution seeking to improve the public's understanding of Congress and encourage civic engagement. The Center developed out of Hamilton's recognition during his 34 years in the U.S. House of Representatives that the public should be more familiar with Congress’ strengths and weaknesses, its role in our system of government, and its impact on the lives of ordinary people every day.
Hamilton also serves as President and Director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where scholars, policymakers and business leaders engage in a comprehensive and non-partisan dialogue on public policy issues.
Prior to becoming Director of The Center on Congress and the Wilson Center, Hamilton served from 1965 to 1999 as a U.S. Representative from Indiana. During his tenure, he was Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, of the Joint Economic Committee, and of the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress. He was a leading congressional voice on foreign affairs and economic policy and worked to promote integrity and efficiency in Congress.
Hamilton continues to play an active role in matters of international relations and American national security. He was Co-Chairman, with former Secretary of State James A. Baker, of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan panel created at the urging of Congress that in December 2006 made recommendations on U.S. policy options in Iraq. Previously he served as Vice Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission), which issued its report in July 2004, and he co-chaired with former Gov. Thomas Kean the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, to monitor implementation of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations.
Hamilton is author of three books: Strengthening Congress (Indiana University Press); How Congress Works and Why You Should Care (Indiana University Press); and A Creative Tension: The Foreign Policy Roles of the President and Congress (Woodrow Wilson Press). He co-authored with former Gov. Kean Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission (Knopf).
Hamilton was born in 1931 in Daytona Beach, Fla. His family relocated to Tennessee and then Evansville, Ind. He graduated from DePauw University and Indiana University law school, and he studied for a year at Goethe University in Germany. A former high school and college basketball star, he was inducted into the Indiana basketball Hall of Fame in 1982. Before his 1964 election to Congress, he practiced law in Chicago and Columbus, Ind.