Since arriving in Houston in 1994 as director of the newly-established James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Ambassador Edward Djerejian has built the institute into the top university-affiliated think tank in the world.
At this Director’s Lecture Series event, Ambassador Djerejian looked back on the Baker Institute’s near three-decade history in conversation with Rice historian John Boles. Their discussion also addressed the role of think tanks in a time of deep partisan division and widespread discontent with the status quo across the political spectrum. How can think tanks remain relevant and effective in their policy work? How can think tanks promote objective analysis and dialogue in increasingly tense times?
A moderated question and answer session followed the discussion.
Follow @BakerInstitute on Twitter, and join the conversation online with #BakerPolicy
Director's Lecture Series
The Director’s Lecture Series was created and endowed by Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian and Mrs. Françoise Djerejian to provide a specific forum for Baker Institute Roundtable members, faculty and students to engage in the most relevant and pressing issues we face today.
6:00 pm — Reception
6:30 pm — Welcome Remarks
6:35 pm — Armchair Discussion
7:15 pm — Moderated Q&A
Registration has closed.
Events and webinars are powered by the contributions of our donors and members. Please consider supporting our work by making a gift or joining a membership group. Learn more here or text BAKER to 243725 to give today.
Allen Matusow, Ph.D.
Academic Affairs Director, Baker Institute
Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian is the director of Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. His career in the U.S. Foreign Service spanned the administrations of eight presidents from John F. Kennedy to William J. Clinton. Djerejian is a leading expert on national security, foreign policy, and the complex political, security, economic, religious and ethnic issues of the Middle East and South Asia. He has played key roles in the Arab-Israeli peace process and regional conflict resolution. He is the author of “Danger and Opportunity: An American Ambassador's Journey Through the Middle East.”
Prior to his nomination as U.S. ambassador to Israel, he served both President George H.W. Bush and President Clinton as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs and President Ronald Reagan and President Bush as U.S. ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic. He was special assistant to President Reagan and deputy press secretary for foreign affairs in the White House.
Djerejian’s assignments in the Foreign Service included political officer in Beirut, Lebanon, and Casablanca, Morocco; deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Jordan; and consul general in Bordeaux, France. He headed the political section in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during the critical period in U.S.-Soviet relations marked by the invasion of Afghanistan. He served in the United States Army as a first lieutenant in the Republic of Korea following his graduation from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
At the Baker Institute, Djerejian holds the Janice and Robert McNair Chair in Public Policy. He received a Bachelor of Science and a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Georgetown, as well as a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from Middlebury College.
Djerejian has been awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award; the Department of State’s Distinguished Honor Award; the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; the Anti-Defamation League’s Moral Statesman Award; the Award for Humanitarian Diplomacy from Netanya Academic College in Israel; the National Order of the Cedar, bestowed by President Émile Lahoud of Lebanon; the Order of Ouissam Alaouite, bestowed by King Mohammed VI of Morocco; and the Order of Honor, bestowed by President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia. He is also a recipient of the Association of Rice Alumni’s Gold Medal for his service to the university. Djerejian is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent policy research centers. He was a member of the board of trustees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York from 2011 to 2019.
At the request of Secretary of State Colin Powell (1937-2021), Djerejian chaired the congressionally mandated bipartisan Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World. He also served as senior advisor to the Iraq Study Group (ISG), a bipartisan panel mandated by Congress to assess the situation in Iraq. The Baker Institute was an organizing sponsor of the ISG.
Djerejian is married to the former Françoise Andrée Liliane Marie Haelters. They have a son, Gregory Peter Djerejian; a daughter, Francesca Natalia Djerejian; and three grandchildren, Isabel Alessandra Djerejian, Sebastian Edward Djerejian and Cassandra Colombe Vargas.
John Boles, Ph.D., is the William P. Hobby Professor Emeritus at Rice University. Boles has been with Rice University since 1981, serving as the Allyn R. and Gladys M. Cline Chair in History from 1991-1997 and the William P. Hobby Professor of History since 1997. His final year of teaching was 2018-2019. A professor for 30 years, teaching at Towson State College and Tulane University before coming to Rice, Boles was the NEH Fellow in Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University from 1976-1977. He received his bachelor of arts from Rice in 1965 and his doctorate from the University of Virginia in 1967.
A renowned expert on U.S. Southern history, especially as it relates to antebellum social, cultural, religious, women's and African American history, Boles has authored seven books, 10 editing projects, 35 scholarly articles and over 100 reviews. He is the former managing editor of Journal of Southern History and has served in editorial positions for several scholarship journals.