2014 Annual Conference:   Banquet  |  Conference  |  Luncheon

November 20, 2014: Keynote Luncheon at MEI's Annual Conference

Effective Mideast Diplomacy in Changing Times

The 2014 Annual Keynote Luncheon featured current and former U.S. ambassadors discussing the challenges and opportunities for diplomacy in the Middle East.  Former Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns, received a Lifetime Achievement Award (in absentia).

- Podcast
- Transcript

Luncheon Panelists:

2013 Keynote Luncheon

Amb. Deborah Jones
U.S. Ambassador to Libya
Ambassador Deborah K. Jones, a career member of the senior Foreign Service, was nominated by President Obama to serve as the ambassador to Libya in March 2013. Previously, Ms. Jones served as U.S. ambassador to the state of Kuwait from 2008 to 2011 and as principal officer at the U.S. consulate general in Istanbul, Turkey from 2005 to 2007.

Amb. Daniel Kurtzer
Professor in Middle Eastern Policy Studies, Princeton University
Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer is a lecturer and the S. Daniel Abraham Professor in Middle Eastern policy studies at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He served 29 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, including as U.S. ambassador to Egypt from 1997-2001 and to Israel from 2001-2005.

Amb. Robert Pearson
Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey
Ambassador Robert Pearson is a former career member of the Foreign Service who served as U.S. ambassador to Turkey from 2000-2003. He followed this appointment as director of human resources for the Foreign Service until his retirement in 2006. He then joined the nonprofit, International Research and Exchanges Board, as president in 2008.

Richard A. Clarke (moderator)
Chairman of the Board of Governors, The Middle East Institute
Richard Clarke served for 30 years in U.S. government national security agencies, including the Pentagon, the State Department, and the White House National Security Council. He served as deputy assistant secretary for intelligence in the Reagan administration and assistant secretary of state for politico-military affairs in the George H.W. Bush administration.


Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient (in absentia):

- Podcast

Amb. William J. Burns
Fmr. Deputy Secretary of State 
"Americans are often tempted to believe the world revolves around us, our problems, and our analysis. The recent revolutions that swept the Middle East remind us that this is not always the case. These revolutions were, at their core, about dignity and the profound humiliation of people denied economic opportunity, a political voice, and solutions to the problems that mattered most to them. Yet these revolutions still matter a great deal to the United States, and we have a central role to play in helping shape their trajectory."  - 10 Parting Thoughts for America's Diplomats, Foreign Policy