Samuel W. Lewis

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The Honorable Samuel W. Lewis "is a retired career diplomat whose most recent government post was Director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff for the Clinton Administration during 1993 and 1994. Immediately prior to his return to the State Department, Ambassador Lewis had served more than five years as President and CEO of the United States Institute of Peace, an independent federal institution created by the Congress to promote peaceful resolution of international conflicts. From 1995 to 1998 he was Counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Visiting Professor of International Relations at Hamilton College and an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University.

"After graduating magna cum laude from Yale University and receiving a Master's degree from the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University, Lewis's 31 year diplomatic career spanned assignments in Italy, Brazil, Afghanistan, Israel and Washington. He held such posts as: Ambassador to Israel for 8 years under Presidents Carter and Reagan, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs under President Ford, Senior Staff Member for Latin America at the National Security Council, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State, Charge d'affaires in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Deputy Director of the Policy Planning Staff under Secretary of State Kissinger. During his last overseas assignment as Ambassador to Israel, Lewis was a prominent actor in Arab-Israeli relations, participating in the 1978 Camp David Conference with President Carter and in subsequent negotiations which produced the historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, as well as the eventually aborted 1983 Israel-Lebanon peace agreement.

"In addition to heading the U.S. Institute of Peace during its formative years, since leaving the Foreign Service in 1985 Lewis has been closely affiliated with the Brookings Institution, the Johns Hopkins Foreign Policy Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the Council on Foreign Relations' Center for Preventive Action. He currently serves as Senior Policy Advisor for the Israel Policy Forum; and as Board member of the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University , the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, the Institute of World Affairs, and Search for Common Ground in the Middle East. From 1986 to 1991 he was Chairman of the Board of Overseers for the Harry S. Truman Research Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and from 1986 to 1987 was the first Senior International Fellow at Tel Aviv University's Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. Other current affiliations include the Council on Foreign Relations, the Middle East Institute, the United Nations Association, and many other non-profit organizations in the fields of foreign policy, Arab-Israeli relations, conflict resolution, and the environment.

"Recipient of six honorary doctoral degrees plus numerous other awards from the White House, the State Department, the Agency for International Development, the Johns Hopkins University and many organizations concerned with U.S.-Israel relations, Lewis has lectured widely and been a frequent TV and radio commentator on Middle East affairs, U.S. - Israel relations, international conflict resolution and the role of the United Nations in peacemaking and peacekeeping. He coauthored Making Peace among Arabs and Israelis; has contributed chapters to edited volumes on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Soviet-American rivalry in the Middle East; has contributed articles on Israeli-American relations and the American role in middle east peacemaking to Foreign Affairs quarterly, the Middle East Journal, the Harvard International Review, the SA.IS Review, the Foreign Service Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other periodicals." [1]

Former Posts

  • US Ambassador to Israel 1977-85
  • US National Security Council senior staff
  • Agency for International Development
  • US Official Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State (1961-62)
  • Executive Committee of the American Academy of Diplomacy
  • Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Advisory Council
  • Brookings Institution Guest Scholar
  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • US Institute of Peace President


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