In Remembrance of Lisa Owens Davis

March 2, 2020
William C. Potter

I deeply mourn the recent passing of Lisa Owens Davis (1966–2020).

I vividly recall meeting Lisa in my office shortly after she began her studies at MIIS in fall 1992. CNS was very new at the time, and was poised to launch an unusual student internship program at international organizations. Lisa had no formal experience in the nonproliferation sphere during her undergraduate program at University of California Santa Barbara, but she was a brilliant student, and she was selected to be the first MIIS intern at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Before long, she was overseeing the US government’s nuclear safeguards support program for the IAEA.

Lisa had a remarkably successful career in government working on nonproliferation issues at the Departments of Energy and State. She also married into the field, wedding a fellow nonproliferation aficionado and practitioner, Zack Davis. When not supporting the Nonproliferation Treaty and strengthening international safeguards, they both took great delight in the outdoors, traveling, and their family.

It is hard to say farewell to friends, but it is especially tragic to acknowledge the passing of one’s student. Lisa will always be fondly remembered by me and by many CNS and MIIS alumni.

– Bill Potter

Director, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and
Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Lisa Owens Davis headshot

Lisa Owens Davis

Lisa’s family and friends have created the Diversity in International Security Scholarship Fund at the Middlebury Institute to honor Lisa’s lifelong work in creating a more peaceful world.

To contribute to the fund, visit:


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