Ambassador James F. Jeffrey was the Philip Solondz distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute from 2013-2018, where he focused on U.S. diplomatic and military strategy in the Middle East, with emphasis on Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. From 2018 until November 2020, he served as U.S. special representative for Syria engagement and special envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. He currently chairs the Wilson Center’s Middle East Program.
One of the nation's most senior diplomats, Ambassador Jeffrey has held a series of highly sensitive posts in Washington D.C. and abroad. In addition to his service as ambassador in Ankara and Baghdad, he served as assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration, with a special focus on Iran. He previously served as principal deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the Department of State, where his responsibilities included leading the Iran policy team and coordinating public diplomacy. Earlier appointments included service as senior advisor on Iraq to the secretary of state; chargé d'affaires and deputy chief of mission in Baghdad; deputy chief of mission in Ankara; and ambassador to Albania.
A former infantry officer in the U.S. army, Ambassador Jeffrey served in Germany and Vietnam from 1969 to 1976.
M.A., Boston University; B.A., Northeastern University