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2020 Election Series: Challenges in U.S. Middle East Policy

The Middle East remains an area of strategic interest for the United States. As such, policymakers must understand the complex history and politics of this region and grapple with the numerous difficulties they pose. Coupled with the unprecedented turbulence of the global coronavirus pandemic, the Middle East is beset by authoritarianism, systemic corruption, obstacles to popular participation in government, civil wars, violent extremism, refugee crises and a stalemated Israeli-Palestinian conflict, among other issues. At the same time, the upcoming U.S. election is looming large and poses other uncertainties for the region.

Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian, director of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and former U.S. ambassador to Israel and to Syria, discussed the challenges to U.S. Middle East policy formulation and possible ways forward under a Trump or Biden administration.

This event, sponsored by the Baker Institute Center for the Middle East, is part of the Baker Institute 2020 Election Series, which highlights critical policy issues ahead of the 2020 presidential election. This webinar series features institute fellows, scholars and guests discussing a range of critical domestic and foreign policy issues in the lead up to November 3.

Follow @BakerInstitute on Twitter, and join the conversation with #BakerMiddleEast.



12:30 p.m. — Presentation
1:00 p.m. — Q&A

Featured Speaker

The Honorable Edward P. Djerejian’s Foreign Service career spanned eight U.S. administrations, from John F. Kennedy to William J. Clinton. Prior to his nomination as U.S. ambassador to Israel, he was assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs in both the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. He was previously the U.S. ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic. He also served as special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and as deputy press secretary for foreign affairs in the White House. Following his retirement from government service, Djerejian became the director of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. He is the author of Danger and Opportunity: An American Ambassador’s Journey Through the Middle East. He has been awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award; the Department of State’s Distinguished Honor Award; 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 Rice University. Djerejian is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was a member of the board of trustees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York from 2011 to 2019.


Colton Cox
Policy Assistant to the Director


Tue, Sept. 22, 2020
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
(GMT-0500) US/Central


Online webinar