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David Schenker

Aufzien Fellow
Director, Program on Arab Politics

Tel: 202-230-9550 (media inquiries only) 202-452-0650 (all other inquiries)

David Schenker is the Aufzien fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute.

Areas of Expertise

Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Arab and Islamic Politics, U.S. Policy

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David Schenker is the Aufzien fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute. Previously, he served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as Levant country director, the Pentagon's top policy aide on the Arab countries of the Levant. In that capacity, he was responsible for advising the secretary and other senior Pentagon leadership on the military and political affairs of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories. He was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service in 2005.

Prior to joining the government, Mr. Schenker was a research fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on Arab governance issues and a project coordinator a Bethesda-based contractor of large, centrally-funded USAID projects in Egypt and Jordan. In addition, he authored two Institute books: Dancing with Saddam: The Strategic Tango of Jordanian-Iraqi Relations (copublished with Lexington Books, 2003) and Palestinian Democracy and Governance: An Appraisal of the Legislative Council (2001). More recently, he published a chapter on U.S.-Lebanese relations in Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict, and Crisis (Palgrave, 2009), and Egypt’s Enduring Challenges (2011), a monograph focusing on post-Mubarak Egypt. His writings on Arab affairs have also appeared in a number of prominent scholarly journals and newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Jerusalem Post.

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M.A., University of Michigan; Certificate, Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA), American University in Cairo; B.A., University of Vermont

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Languages Spoken / Read

  • Arabic

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Egypt's Enduring Challenges:

April 13, 2011

Policy Focus

No Good Outcome:

November 26, 2013

Policy Focus

Dancing with Saddam:

August 1, 2003


Palestinian Democracy and Governance:

January 1, 2000

Policy Papers

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