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A New Chapter for Founding Director Ambassador Edward Djerejian

A New Chapter for Founding Director Ambassador Edward Djerejian

After serving for 28 years as the Founding Director of the Baker Institute, Ambassador Edward Djerejian is set to retire this week.

When Ambassador Djerejian was named Director of the institute in 1994, former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III, the institute’s honorary chair, called him “simply one of the best diplomats I know.” An expert on foreign policy and Middle Eastern affairs, Ambassador Djerejian previously served under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton. His appointments over 30 years of public service included U.S. ambassador to Israel and to the Syrian Arab Republic.

The Ambassador’s extensive Foreign Service experience prepared him well to lead the Baker Institute. By recruiting a team of distinguished fellows and scholars and launching the institute’s various centers and programs, the Ambassador has been pivotal in establishing the Baker Institute’s reputation as a respected source of nonpartisan research and furthering its mission of bridging the world of ideas and the world of action. Under his leadership, the institute quickly joined the ranks of the world’s leading university think tanks, rising to the No. 1 position in 2021.

During Ambassador Djerejian’s tenure, the institute has also hosted many esteemed speakers including five former U.S. presidents and heads of government and foreign dignitaries from around the world. Notable speakers over the years have included Madeleine Albright, Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama, among many others.

Following Ambassador Djerejian’s departure, Ambassador David Satterfield, who has over four decades of diplomatic service and policy and leadership experience in the United States and overseas in the Near East and Europe, will take on the role of director of the institute.

“I could not be more delighted with my successor as director of the Baker Institute,” Ambassador Djerejian said in a statement announcing the new director. “No one is better prepared than Ambassador David Satterfield to take on the institute’s reins. He brings a most distinguished Foreign Service career, outstanding substantive and management skills as well as his extensive experience in policy formulation.”

Ambassador Djerejian’s legacy will continue in countless ways at the institute. In recognition of his service, he has been named a life member of the institute’s board of advisors, and the Center for the Middle East has been renamed the Edward P. Djerejian Center for the Middle East. Room 111 in Baker Hall has also been named the Françoise and Edward Djerejian Founders Room to commemorate the remarkable work of Ambassador Djerejian and his wife, Françoise, in building the institute into what it is today.

As they begin a new chapter along the East Coast, the Djerejians will be closer to family, including their grandchildren. The Ambassador’s future plans also include teaching at Harvard Kennedy School’s Middle East Initiative, where he will be a senior fellow, and serving his third four-year term as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

View the slideshow above highlighting key moments of Ambassador Djerejian's tenure.