Rachel Odell


China, Maritime Security, Indo-Pacific


East Asia


Rachel Esplin Odell is a Research Fellow in the East Asia Program at the Quincy Institute and an expert in U.S. strategy toward Asia, Chinese foreign policy, and the politics of international law. She is on leave from the Quincy Institute until August 2020, while she completes her tenure as an International Security Fellow in the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School and a PhD Candidate in the MIT Security Studies Program.

Odell has also received fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, Waseda University, and MIT’s Center for International Studies. Her research on the relationship between maritime power and international law has been awarded the Alexander George Award from the Foreign Policy Analysis Section of the International Studies Association. She is completing a book manuscript that explains differences in states’ interpretation of the international law of the sea and the evolution in those interpretations over time, with both global cross-national analysis and case studies of China, Japan, India, the United States, and the Soviet Union.

Odell previously worked as a Research Analyst in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, co-authoring several policy reports and organizing numerous public forums, government briefings, and Track II workshops. She also has experience working in the China Affairs bureau of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. She holds an AB summa cum laude in East Asian Studies with a secondary field in Government from Harvard University and has advanced proficiency in Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.

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