Director of Middle East Programs


The Center for the National Interest seeks an accomplished, energetic and articulate Director of Middle East Programs to conduct projects on U.S. policy in the wider Middle East region. The Director will play a key part in shaping this program and will be expected to build a highly visible role in Washington’s policy community. This will be a rare opportunity to contribute to defining institutional objectives and priorities in approaching a region of considerable importance to U.S. national interests.

Key responsibilities will include:

  • Directing a study group on U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf region;
  • Organizing a new track two dialogue program;
  • Mentoring a visiting fellow from the Middle East;
  • Working with the management to define additional program priorities and leading the Center’s efforts in pursuit of agreed goals;
  • Conceptualizing, writing and submitting proposals to foundations and other organizations, in consultation with the management, to expand the Center’s projects on the Middle East;
  • Planning and organizing a monthly series of meetings focused on topical issues in the Middle East;
  • Writing policy-oriented articles and reports, including for the Center’s magazine The National Interest and, commenting in national media, and speaking regularly at the Center and other organizations;
  • Supervising a part-time program assistant and one or more interns, as needed.

The successful candidate will be a self-starter with expertise on one or more major issues (e.g., energy, terrorism, non-proliferation) or countries (e.g., Egypt, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia), a broad understanding of regional developments, and strong written and oral communication skills. Familiarity with the policy process and an established network in Washington will also be important.

A Ph.D. or equivalent experience as a foreign policy or national security practitioner is required; regional language proficiency (e.g., Arabic, Farsi) is highly desirable. Salary and benefits are competitive.

To apply, please send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, professional biography, the names of three references, and one or two policy-oriented writing samples to Paul Saunders, Executive Director, Center for the National Interest at