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Phillip Solondz Gift Creates Visiting Fellowship; Amb. James Jeffrey Named Inaugural Solondz Distinguished Visiting Fellow

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(WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 10) Philanthropist Philip Solondz has made a major gift to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy to support the research organization's cutting-edge work in Mideast scholarship. The contribution establishes the Solondz Distinguished Visiting Fellowship, supporting the work of Amb. James F. Jeffrey and his research on U.S. strategies to counter Iran's efforts to expand its influence in the broader Middle East.

"The Washington Institute is grateful to Philip Solondz for enabling us to support Amb. Jeffrey’s important work on Iran,” said Executive Director Robert Satloff. "The stakes could not be higher for ensuring the security of the Middle East."

A Florida resident, Philip Solondz has been a trustee of The Washington Institute since 2006 and is a frequent participant in Institute forums. He spent 60 years in construction and real-estate and is responsible for projects throughout the East Coast.

"We are delighted that the Solondz name will now be linked to the finest scholarship on the Middle East through the creation of this fellowship," said Chairman Howard P. Berkowitz and President Martin J. Gross.

A member of the U.S. Foreign Service since 1977, Amb. Jeffrey held some of the country’s most sensitive diplomatic posts at home and abroad. He was ambassador to both Iraq and Turkey, two nations with deep ties to the United States that border Iran. In addition, he served as assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration with a special focus on Iran. Previously, at the State Department, he 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.

Amb. Jeffrey joined The Washington Institute as a visiting fellow in September of 2012 immediately after his retirement from the State Department. A foreign policy practitioner who combines a broad strategic understanding of the Middle East with unsurpassed experience in the field, he has contributed substantially to the Institute’s body of work.