There is a new foreign policy team in Washington. These new players in the Trump administration have inherited a series of apparently intractable crises. All these crises pose potentially serious damage to American interests in the region. Right now we have three critical issues: the future of the agreement with Iran; a frozen relationship between our most important allies; and the ongoing civil war in Yemen that is going nowhere. Can the new team change the course of events in the Gulf? What is their ability to change the reality in the Gulf? Are we going to make Iran a bigger threat or are we going to contain Iran? Is there light at the end of the tunnel in Yemen? What are the costs to the US if it abrogates the JCPOA? The hostility between our key Gulf allies looks irreparable; will the Camp David summit defrost the almost year-long Gulf crisis?
A plated lunch will be served at the event.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 12:30 to 2:30 PM.
Ambassador Gerald M. Feierstein, Professor Ellen Laipson, and Barbara Slavin.
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(Moderator) Professor Daniel Serwer
Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and Scholar, Middle East Institute.
Professor Daniel Serwer (Ph.D., Princeton) directs the Conflict Management Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is also a Senior Fellow at its Center for Transatlantic Relations and affiliated as a Scholar with the Middle East Institute. His current interests focus on the civilian instruments needed to protect U.S. national security as well as transition and state-building in the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans. His Righting the Balance: How You Can Help Protect America was published in November 2013 by Potomac Books.
Formerly vice president for centers of peacebuilding innovation at the United States Institute of Peace, he led teams there working on rule of law, religion, economics, media, technology, security sector governance and gender. He was also vice president for peace and stability operations at USIP, where he led its peacebuilding work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and the Balkans and served as Executive Director of the Hamilton/Baker Iraq Study Group. Serwer has worked on preventing interethnic and sectarian conflict in Iraq and has facilitated dialogue between Serbs and Albanians in the Balkans. As a minister-counselor at the U.S. Department of State, Serwer directed the European office of intelligence and research and served as U.S. special envoy and coordinator for the Bosnian Federation, mediating between Croats and Muslims and negotiating the first agreement reached at the Dayton peace talks. From 1990 to 1993, he was deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, leading a major diplomatic mission through the end of the Cold War and the first Gulf War.
Serwer holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from Princeton University, an M.S. from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from Haverford College. He speaks Italian, French and Portuguese, as well as beginning Arabic.
Amb. (ret.) Gerald Feierstein
Director for Gulf Affairs and Government Relations at MEI.
He retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in May 2016 after a 41-year career with the personal rank of Career Minister. As a diplomat he served in nine overseas postings, including three tours of duty in Pakistan, as well as assignments in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Lebanon, Jerusalem, and Tunisia. In 2010, President Obama appointed Amb. Feierstein U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, where he served until 2013. From 2013 until his retirement, Amb. Feierstein was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.
Professor Ellen Laipson
Director of the International Security program at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.
She joined GMU from the Stimson Center, where she was president and CEO (2002-2015) and continues as President Emeritus and Distinguished Fellow. Her tenure at Stimson followed a quarter century of government service. She serves on a number of academic and other non-governmental boards related to international security and diplomacy, and is a weekly columnist for worldpoliticsreview.com. Her last post in government was Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council (1997-2002). She also worked on the State Department’s policy planning staff, the National Security Council staff, and the Congressional Research Service. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she currently serves on the Advisory Councils of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, and the Notre Dame International Security Center, and on the board of the Diplomacy Center Foundation. From 2003 to 2015, she was a member of the board of the Asia Foundation. She was a member of the CIA External Advisory Panel from 2006-2009, President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board from 2009-2013, and on the Secretary of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board 2011-2014. Laipson has an M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University and an AB from Cornell University.
Director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council and a columnist for Al-Monitor.com.
The author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation (2007), she is a regular commentator on US foreign policy and Iran on NPR, PBS, and C-SPAN.
A career journalist, Slavin previously served as assistant managing editor for world and national security of the Washington Times, senior diplomatic reporter for USA TODAY, Cairo correspondent for the Economist, and as an editor at the New York Times Week in Review.
She has covered such key foreign policy issues as the US-led war on terrorism, policy toward “rogue” states, the Iran-Iraq war, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. She has traveled to Iran nine times. Slavin also served as a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where she wrote Bitter Friends, and as a senior fellow at the US Institute of Peace, where she researched and wrote the report Mullahs, Money and Militias: How Iran Exerts Its Influence in the Middle East.