Stephen Handelman was appointed Director of the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College in May 2007. An internationally known author and investigative journalist whose award-winning work has intersected the worlds of journalism, higher education, international security, justice and human rights, he is an expert on post-Soviet crime and corruption, and a veteran foreign correspondent who has reported from the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia.
In 1995, he wrote Comrade Criminal: Russia’s New Mafiya (Yale University Press), the first account of the rise of organized crime in post-Soviet Russia, which was on The New York Times Notable Books of the Year list. In a follow-up book, Mr. Handelman unraveled the Soviet bioweapons program in Biohazard (Random House, 1999) co-authored with Ken Alibek, head of the long-secret program.
A former columnist and senior writer for Time Magazine and The Toronto Star, his articles and op-eds have appeared in newspapers, magazines, and academic journals around the world, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Independent (UK), and Foreign Affairs.
He has won numerous prizes for his work in the U.S. and Canada, including the UN Correspondents Association Award for Distinguished Foreign Reporting, and was one of the two runners-up for the Johns Hopkins SAIS Award for International Reporting. He is also currently a consulting managing editor for Americas Quarterly, a journal published by The Americas Society.
Mr. Handelman served as an advisor during the meetings establishing the U.N. Convention on Transnational Crime, and has also been deeply involved in training and educating journalists around the world since 1992, including programs in Central Europe, Russia and Latin America sponsored by the Freedom Forum and the Washington Office on Latin America.
He has lectured at more than 30 universities, schools and civic associations around the U.S. , including Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Rutgers, West Point — and Columbia University’s Harriman Institute of Post-Soviet Studies, where he has been an Associate Fellow since 1994.
He has also served as an adjunct professor at The New School, Pace University and Rutgers University, specializing in issues of media, crime, terrorism and homeland security, and has appeared as a commentator on network television and radio (ABC Nightline, CBS, History Channel, BBC).
He is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Royal Institute of International Affairs (London), the Americas Society, the Society of Professional Journalists, and was co-founder of the Moscow Correspondents Association.
A former VISTA volunteer in New Mexico and Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, Mr. Handelman earned his BA from City College at The City University of New York (CUNY), and his Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.