Director of Programs and Education, Acton Institute
Paul J. Bonicelli, Ph.D. is the director of programs and education at the Acton Institute. Previously, he has served as executive vice president at Regent University (VA), provost at Houston Baptist University (TX), and dean of academic affairs at Patrick Henry College (VA). He began his teaching career as assistant professor of political science at Grove City College (PA) and has taught as an adjunct professor for the Rep. Bill Archer Fellows Program of the University of Texas in Washington, DC. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Tennessee, an M.A. in public policy from Regent University, and a B.A. in English from the University of Memphis. Prior to embarking on a career in higher education, he served as a researcher and analyst in Washington, DC on trade issues and democracy promotion.
Bonicelli served in President George W. Bush’s administration at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and was tasked with advancing the cause of political and economic freedom by means of US foreign assistance. He was confirmed by the US Senate to serve as assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, overseeing all foreign assistance programs in the region. Pursuant to the president’s second inaugural address and his national security strategy, Bonicelli worked with the National Security Council and the State Department to devise and implement the president’s Freedom Agenda. The goal of the agenda was to support peoples seeking to build ordered liberty in their countries. During his time in the administration Bonicelli had oversight of USAID’s global democracy and governance programs (80 countries as well as international organizations), testified before Congress three times, served as head of delegation in multilateral fora and represented the United States in negotiations with foreign governments and international organizations.
Bonicelli has been a foreign policy advisor for several presidential campaigns and currently serves on two committees of the John Hay Initiative (Human Rights and Democracy, International Development) offering specific expertise on foreign policy that supports liberty abroad. He serves as a senior advisor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and maintains a regular national and international media presence (television, radio, web) providing opinion and commentary via various news outlets. He writes regularly on international relations for Foreign Policy magazine’s Shadow Government blog as well as for The Federalist. He is a member of the board of directors of American Majority and Voter Gravity (electoral politics training and voter technology development).