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Renowned Middle East foreign policy expert joins the Jackson School

September 13, 2023

Steven Simon

Steven Simon

This autumn the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington will welcome Steven Simon, an award-winning author and former U.S. National Security Council member and diplomat, as a distinguished practitioner to teach, conduct research and engage with the public on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. He will be in residence at the Jackson School for the academic year 2023-2024.

The role, to be known as “Professor of Practice in Middle East Studies,” is to enhance student learning, contribute to new scholarship, and widen community engagement on the Middle East from a policy perspective.

“Steven has a unique, insider’s perspective on some of the most significant American foreign engagements since the end of the Cold War.  We are thrilled that he will be with us for the year, sharing his experiences and his expertise with our students and our community,” said Danny Hoffman, director of the Jackson School.

Simon, most recently the Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow in International Affairs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Senior Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, brings extensive first-hand knowledge of the issues in the Middle East region. He served as the National Security Council senior director for counterterrorism in the Clinton White House and for the Middle East and North Africa in the Obama White House and in senior positions at the U.S. Department of State. Outside of government, Simon has worked in high-level roles with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London and Manama, and with the RAND Corporation and Council on Foreign Relations.

“I’m looking forward to working with such a distinguished faculty and collaborating with students who are curious about the Middle East, American foreign policy and national security decision making, and of course those who are contemplating a career involving the Middle East, whether in government, multilateral organizations, NGO’s or the media,” said Simon.

His books include as co-author of “The Age of Sacred Terror” (Random House, 2004), winner of the Arthur C. Ross Award for best book in international relations and of “The Next Attack” (Henry Holt, 2006), a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize, and one of the “best books of the year” in the Washington Post and Financial Times, which focused on the U.S. response to 9/11. His most recent book is “Grand Delusion: The Rise and Fall of American Ambition in the Middle East,” (Penguin/Random House, 2023). He has published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Politico, New York Review of Books, Survival, and Haaretz, and has appeared on the PBS NewsHour, CNN and al Jazeera.

In autumn quarter, he will teach a JSIS B 100 course called, “US and the Middle East,” which will explore the history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East from the early Republic through the present day, and learn why and how the U.S. embarked on a series of interventions in the region, beginning in the 1980s that lasted nearly 40 years, cost trillions, killed hundreds of thousands, and subsided only recently. Simon will also be giving a public lecture, “The Rise and Fall of American Ambition in the Middle East,” hosted by the Jackson School in partnership with the Middle East Center, Center for Global Studies, and Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of Washington on October 19 at 7:30 p.m.

About the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington
The Jackson School of International Studies is a nationally recognized leader in advancing the understanding of and engagement in world issues. Founded in 1909, it is one of the oldest and largest schools in the country to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in global, regional and area studies. Its location in Seattle, a global hub of commerce, philanthropy and progressive policy, provides a diverse and dynamic environment that helps connect scholarship with what the world needs.