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Barbara A. Leaf, Decorated Diplomat and Former U.S. Ambassador to UAE, Joins The Washington Institute

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Barbara A. Leaf, who retired from the U.S. State Department last month after serving as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, has joined the Washington Institute as its Rosenblatt Distinguished Visiting Fellow, the research organization announced today.
"After a distinguished diplomatic career, we are honored that Ambassador Leaf has chosen to begin the next stage of her professional life at The Washington Institute," said Robert Satloff, Institute Executive Director and the Howard P. Berkowitz Chair in U.S. Middle East Policy. "She brings decades of experience and Middle East expertise to the Institute. She will contribute enormously to our mission to provide policymakers with practical solutions to foreign policy challenges."

"I am thrilled to be joining the Washington Institute," said Ambassador Leaf. "The Institute has been an important source of ideas and analysis to me throughout my career. I look forward to continuing to advance U.S. interests in the region in this new role."

Ambassador Leaf’s fellowship was made possible by a generous gift from Institute trustees Lief and Johanna Rosenblatt. During her fellowship at the Institute, Ambassador Leaf will focus her research, writing, and speaking on U.S policy in the Gulf and intra-Gulf political and security dynamics.

During her diplomatic career, Ambassador Leaf served in high-level positions at Foggy Bottom and abroad. Before arriving in Abu Dhabi in 2014, she served as deputy assistant secretary of state for the Arabian Peninsula in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and as deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq; directed the U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team in Basrah, Iraq; and served as the first director of the Office of Iranian Affairs. In addition she had postings in Rome, Paris, Cairo, Jerusalem, Port-au-Prince, and Sarajevo.

Ambassador Leaf departed government as a member of the Senior Foreign Service and has received numerous Superior Honor and Meritorious Honor Awards throughout her career. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, she holds a master's degree in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. She speaks Arabic, French, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian.

About the Washington Institute: The Washington Institute is an independent, nonpartisan research institution funded exclusively by U.S. citizens that seeks to advance a balanced and realistic understanding of American interests in the Middle East and to promote the policies that secure them. Drawing on the research of its fellows and the experience of its policy practitioners, the Institute promotes informed debate and scholarly research on U.S. policy in the region.

Media Contact: Ian Byrne, 202-452-0650, email.