Tamara Wittes portraitTamara Cofman Wittes took up her duties as Director of Foreign Assistance in June, 2023. She previously served as Senior Advisor to Ambassador Jim O’Brien, Sanctions Policy Coordinator, for whom she led the Russia sanctions team and the overhaul of humanitarian access in sanctioned environments that included UN Security Council Resolution 2664. She also served in the Department from 2009-2012 as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, coordinating U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in the Middle East during the Arab uprisings. Prior to joining the Department, Dr. Wittes was a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, and directed the Center for five years. Dr. Wittes joined Brookings in December of 2003. Dr. Wittes was a co-host of Rational Security, a weekly podcast on foreign policy and national security issues. She has also taught courses in international relations and security studies at Georgetown University. Dr. Wittes was one of the first recipients of the Rabin-Peres Peace Award, established by President Bill Clinton in 1997. Dr. Wittes has published three books, most recently Foreign Policy Careers for PhDs: A Practical Guide to a World of Possibilities (Georgetown University Press, 2023). She holds a bachelor’s in Judaic and Near Eastern studies from Oberlin College, and a master’s and doctorate in government from Georgetown University. She is a founder of the Leadership Council for Women in National Security, and served on the board of the National Democratic Institute. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Women in International Security.

U.S. Department of State

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