2013 Conference Speakers

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Robin Wright

Keynote: Robin Wright

Robin Wright is a journalist, author, and foreign policy analyst. She has reported from more than 140 countries on six continents for the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Sunday Times of London, CBS News, and the Christian Science Monitor. She won the National Magazine Award for The New Yorker. She has also written for The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and many others. Wright has been a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and spent several years as a roving correspondent in Asia and Latin America. She most recently covered U.S. foreign policy for the Washington Post. Besides a long career in journalism, Wright has been a fellow at the Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Yale, Duke, Stanford, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Southern California. She received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Wright has held a joint appointment as a United States Institute of Peace Senior Fellow and Wilson Center Distinguished Scholar during which she produced three books: The Iran Primer: Power, Politics, and U.S. Policy (2010), Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World (2011), and The Islamists Are Coming: Who They Really Are (2012).

Moderator: R. Nicholas Burns

Nicholas Burns is currently Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School. He retired from the State Department in April, 2008 after a distinguished career spanning 27 years. From 2005 until his retirement, Burns was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs – the third-ranking position in the State Department – where he led U.S. negotiations with such countries as Iran, India, and Kosovo, and supervised U.S. diplomacy in all regions of the world. Burns was U.S. Ambassador to NATO and to Greece. He was the State Department Spokesman for two years and spent five years on the National Security Council staff including as Special Assistant to President Clinton focusing on the former Soviet Union. Later he was Director for Soviet Affairs on the NSC under President George H.W. Bush. Earlier in his career, Burns was posted to Egypt and Mauritania and served as Political Officer at the American Consulate General in Jerusalem. He is Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group, and serves on many boards including the Atlantic Council, the Rockefeller Brothers, the American Ditchley Foundation, Veracity Worldwide, the Center for a New American Security, and the Appeal of Conscience, as well as being a proud member of Red Sox Nation.

Shai Feldman

Prof. Shai Feldman is the Judith and Sidney Swartz Director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and Professor of Politics at Brandeis University. He is also a Senior Fellow and a member of the Board of Directors of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs where he serves as co-chair of the Crown-Belfer Middle East Project. Prof. Feldman is also an Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London. In 2001-2003, Feldman served as a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters. Educated at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Prof. Feldman was awarded the Ph.D. by the University of California at Berkeley in 1980.

Prof. Feldman is the author of numerous publications, including: Israeli Nuclear Deterrence: A Strategy for the 1980s (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982); The Future of U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation(Washington D.C.: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1996); Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control in the Middle East (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997);Bridging the Gap: A Future Security Architecture for the Middle East (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997 – with Abdullah Toukan (Jordan); and,Track-II Diplomacy: Lessons from the Middle East (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003 – with Hussein Agha, Ahmad Khalidi, and Zeev Schiff).

F. Gregory Gause

F. Gregory Gause III is a professor and chair of the political science department at the University of Vermont. In 2009 and 2010, he was the Kuwait Foundation visiting professor of international affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He was previously on the faculty of Columbia University between 1987 and 1995, and was also the fellow for Arab and Islamic studies at the Council on Foreign Relations from 1993 to 1994. His scholarly articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Security Studies, Middle East Journal, and other journals and edited volumes. His most recent book is The International Relations of the Persian Gulf. He has testified on Gulf issues before congressional committees and has made numerous appearances on television and radio commenting on Middle East issues. Gause received his PhD in political science from Harvard University and his BA summa cum laude from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He also studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo and Middlebury College.

Barbara Ibrahim

Barbara Ibrahim is founding director of the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement, established in 2006 at the American University in Cairo. Prior to that she served for 14 years as regional director for West Asia and North Africa of the Population Council. From 1982 to 1990, she was a program officer at the Ford Foundation regional office in Cairo, responsible for programs in urban poverty, micro-enterprise lending, and gender studies. In 1990, she was a senior research associate at the Center for the Study of Philanthropy, City University of New York. She has an MA in sociology from the American University of Beirut (1975) and a Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University (1980). Her publications are in the fields of women’s employment, youth transitions to adulthood, gender and health, and Arab philanthropy. In 1999, she was inducted into the International Educators’ Hall of Fame. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Association of Middle East Women’s Studies in 2003.

Joshua Landis

Joshua M. Landis is Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma where he teaches modern Middle Eastern history and politics and writes on Syria and its surrounding countries. Dr. Landis writes “Syria Comment,” a daily newsletter on Syrian politics that attracts some 3,000 readers a day. It is widely read by officials in Washington, Europe and Syria. Dr. Landis regularly travels to Washington DC to consult with the State Department and other government agencies. He is a frequent analyst on TV and radio. Most recently he has appeared on the Jim Lehrer News Hour, Charlie Rose Show, CNN, Fox News, and has been widely quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, and comments frequently for NPR and BBC radio. He has spoken at the Brookings Institute, USIP, Middle East Institute, and Council on Foreign Relations. He was educated at Swarthmore (BA), Harvard (MA), and Princeton (PhD). He has lived over 14 years in the Middle East and received numerous grants to study in the region, including three Fulbright grants and one from the Social Science Research Council.

Marc Lynch

Marc Lynch is Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He serves as Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies as well as the Middle East Studies Program. Lynch also leads the Project on Middle East Political Science and edits the Middle East Channel for ForeignPolicy.com. He is a non-resident fellow at the Center for a New American Society. Professor Lynch received his B.A. in Political Science from Duke University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University. Lynch is author of Voices of the New Arab Public: Iraq, al-Jazeera, and Middle East Politics Today (Columbia Univ. Press–2007) and the recently issued The Arab Uprising: The Incomplete Revolutions of the New Middle East (Public Affairs Press).

Seyed Hossein Mousavian

Seyed Hossein Mousavian is a Research Scholar at the Program on Science and Global Security. He is a former diplomat who served as Iran’s Ambassador to Germany (1990-1997), head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s National Security Council (1997-2005) and as spokesman for Iran in its nuclear negotiations with the European Union (2003-5). He has taught at Islamic Azad University (Tehran), served as Vice President of Iran’s official Center for Strategic Research (Tehran) and was the editor in chief of the Tehran Times. Mousavian earned a PhD in international relations from the University of Kent in the U.K. His research focuses on options for resolving the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program through diplomacy and improving US-Iran relations.

Marwan Muasher

Marwan Muasher is a Jordanian diplomat who currently serves as Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. He began his career as a journalist with the Jordan Times before serving with the Ministry of Planning and in the office of the Prime Minister of Jordan. Foreign postings began as Director of the Jordan Information Bureau in Washington, D.C. In 1995 Muasher was Jordan’s first Ambassador to Israel. A year later he was Minister of Information and government spokesman in Amman. From 1997 to 2002 he was Jordan’s Ambassador to the United States. For two years he was Foreign Minister and then served as Deputy Prime Minister leading a reform and planning agenda for the government. From 2007 to 2010 Muasher was Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the World Bank. He is the author of The Arab Center: The Promise of Moderation (Yale University Press-2008) and is writing a book on the Arab Awakening.

Laurence Pope

Laurence Everett Pope II was the United States Ambassador to Chad from 1993 to 1996 and former US Chargé d’Affaires to Libya. Pope held a number of senior posts in the Department of State. He was the Director for Northern Gulf Affairs (1987–1990), Associate Director for Counter-Terrorism (1991–1993), U.S. Ambassador to Chad (1993–1996), and Political Advisor to General Zinni USMC, Commander-in-Chief of United States Central Command (1997–2000). From October 2012 – January 2013, Ambassador Pope served as the U.S Chargé d’Affaires in Libya, assuming the duties of the late J. Christopher Stevens, the former U.S. Ambassador to Libya. Ambassador Pope retired from the U.S. Foreign Service on October 2, 2000 after 31 years of service. He continues to consult with various institutions and is a respected arabist. A graduate of Bowdoin College, Pope also had advanced studies at Princeton University and is a graduate of the U.S. Department of State Senior Seminar, a Senior Fellow at the Armed Forces Staff College. He speaks Arabic and French, and resides in Portland, Maine.