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David Schenker Nominated to be Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs


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Washington Institute congratulates scholar-practitioner on appointment to top Mideast diplomatic post

Washington, D.C. – The Washington Institute for Near East Policy congratulates David Schenker, director of the organization's Program on Arab Politics, on his nomination to be assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.

"This is an inspired appointment," said Institute Executive Director Robert Satloff. "As the director of our Arab politics program for more than a decade, David has led Institute research and programming on a broad array of regional topics during an especially turbulent period. He will undoubtedly enrich U.S. Middle East policy with his deep scholarship and his valuable experience as a public official. America’s interests in security and peace in the region will be better for his service."

If confirmed by the Senate, Schenker — the Institute's Aufzien Fellow — will become the State Department’s senior official responsible for Middle East issues. 

"We are proud of the fact that David Schenker will be the latest in a long line of Institute experts to join the government in senior positions — in both Republican and Democratic administrations — to provide expertise on the Middle East," said Institute President Shelly Kassen and Chairman Martin J. Gross.

Schenker has served as director of the Institute's Program on Arab Politics since 2006. Previously, he served in the George W. Bush administration as Levant country director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, in which capacity he was responsible for advising the secretary and senior Pentagon leaders on the military and political affairs of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. His service was recognized with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service in 2005.

Prior to joining the Pentagon, Schenker was a research fellow at the Institute, focusing on Arab governance. The author of books on Iraq and Jordan and on Palestinian politics, his commentary on Arab affairs appears often in prominent scholarly journals and leading media outlets. Fluent in Arabic, Schenker received his master’s degree from the University of Michigan and his undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont. 

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.