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David Ottaway

Middle East Fellow


December 22, 2006 — December 31, 2025

Professional affiliation

Former Washington Post Middle East Correspondent

Wilson Center Projects

Co-author with Marina Ottaway of the book “A Tale of Four Worlds: the Arab Region after the Uprisings.

Full Biography

David B. Ottaway received a BA from Harvard, magna cum laude, in 1962 and a PhD from Columbia University in 1972. He worked 35 years for The Washington Post as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, Africa and Southern Europe and later as a national security and investigative reporter in Washington before retiring in 2006. He has won numerous awards for his reporting at home and abroad and was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Ottaway was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in 1979-80 and again in 2005-06 and is currently a Middle East Fellow. He just released a book about contemporary Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman: The Icarus of Saudi Arabia? His book before that, co-authored with his wife, Marina, is A Tale of four Worlds: the Arab Region After the Uprising, published by Oxford University Press in 2019.  

Major Publications

  • "The Arab Tomorrow," The Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2010
  • "The King and US," Foreign Affairs, May/June 2009
  • King's Messenger: Prince Bandar Bin Sultan and America's Tangled Relationship with Saudi Arabia (Walker & Company)
  • Chained Together: Mandela, De Klerk and the Struggle to Remake South Africa (Random House)
  • Afro-Communism, coauthor with Marina Ottaway (Holmes & Meier Publications, 1986)
  • Algeria: the Politics of a Socialist Revolution, coauthor with Marina Ottaway (University of California Press, 1970)

Previous Terms

Fellow, 2006-2007 "A Reporter's Postcards: Revisiting Six Global Hot Spots That Changed History's Course" I am returning to six countries where I lived or covered major stories, from Algeria at independence in 1962, to the Bosnian civil war in 1992-94. I witnessed Anwar Sadat's assassination in Egypt; the fall of Haile Selassie in Ethiopia; Nelson Mandela's walk to freedom; one million French people fleeing Algeria at independence; and the last Portuguese government ship departing Luanda at Angola's bloody independence.