WASHINGTON — The Wilson Center announced today that Dr. Henri J. Barkey will be the new Director of the Center’s Middle East Program. Barkey’s appointment is effective immediately.

“Dr. Barkey’s exceptional work on Middle East issues at top academic institutions and the U.S. Department of State epitomizes the combination of deep scholarship and policy application we pursue here at the Wilson Center,” said Jane Harman, Director, President and CEO of the Wilson Center. “He will continue the Middle East Program’s reputation as a critical resource for the Washington policymaking community and beyond.”

“The opportunity to come to the Wilson Center and direct the Middle East Program is a rare opportunity, and I am grateful to have been selected,” said Barkey. “This is especially true because under Haleh Esfandiari's inspired leadership, the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center has made an indelible mark in Washington and beyond. Hers will be a hard act to follow. I look forward to the challenge of this position and to collaborate with other directors, scholars, board members, and staff at this premier institution.”  

Barkey succeeds Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, who has served as the Program Director since she founded the Middle East Program in 1998. Esfandiari will continue to develop leading public policy research on the Middle East as a Public Policy Fellow at the Wilson Center.

“Haleh has made an extraordinary contribution to our Middle East Program,” said Ambassador Joseph Gildenhorn, chairman of the Wilson Center board from 2002-2013. “Her keen intellect, vision, and scholarship set a high standard. My association with her has been inspirational.”

Before coming to the Wilson Center, Barkey was the department chair of international relations and Bernard L. and Bertha F. Cohen Professor at Lehigh University. Barkey is also a former public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He served as a member of the U.S. State Department Policy Planning Staff working primarily on issues related to the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean, and intelligence from 1998 to 2000. Barkey has taught at Princeton, Columbia, the State University of New York, and the University of Pennsylvania. His most recent works include Turkey's Syria Predicament (Survival, 2014) and Iraq, Its Neighbors and the United States, co-edited with Phebe Marr and Scott Lasensky (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2011).

Notes to editors:

1. The Wilson Center provides a strictly nonpartisan space for the worlds of policymaking and scholarship to interact. By conducting relevant and timely research and promoting dialogue from all perspectives, it works to address the critical current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world.

2. The Middle East Program at the Wilson Center combines the intellectual grounding of its scholars with the power of its convening space to produce actionable ideas for policymakers around the world. The Program offers a breadth and depth of programming on the prevailing economic, political, and social norms in the MENA region.