Lara Friedman is the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP). With more than 25 years working in the Middle East foreign policy arena, Lara is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular expertise on the Israeli-Arab conflict, Israeli settlements, Jerusalem, and the role of the U.S. Congress. She is published widely in the U.S. and international press and is regularly consulted by members of Congress and their staffs, by Washington-based diplomats, by policy-makers in capitals around the world, and by journalists in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to her work at FMEP, Lara is a non-resident fellow at the U.S./Middle East Project (USMEP). Prior to joining FMEP, Lara was the Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now, and before that she was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. She holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service; in addition to English, Lara speaks French, Arabic, Spanish, (weak) Italian, and muddles through in Hebrew.
Kristin McCarthy is the Director of Policy & Operations at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. Prior to joining FMEP, Kristin was the Policy Director at the Arab American Institute where she served from 2014-2017. Before that, she worked with Israeli and Palestinian human rights experts to do advocacy in Washington, D.C. Kristin has travelled extensively throughout the Middle East She is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University.
Philip Sweigart is Director of Programs and Philanthropy at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He holds an M.A. in International Affairs from American University’s School of International Service, and received a B.A. in Foreign Affairs and Middle East Studies from the University of Virginia, where he wrote his thesis on the role of ethno-sectarian identity and class differences in the 2011 Arab uprisings. He has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, studying Arabic in Syria in 2010 and living in Oman from 1994 to 2008.
Peter Beinart is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He is also Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York, a Contributor to The Atlantic and National Journal, a Senior Columnist at The Forward, and a CNN Political Commentator.
Board of Directors
Edison W. Dick’s legal career has been primarily focused on public international law. He was Senior Partner in the Chicago/Washington DC law firm of Quinn, Jacobs, Barry and Dick and General Counsel to the National Association of Marine Services. He served for 20 years as Chair and Executive Director of the American Bar Association’s International Legal Exchange (ILEX) Program for the exchange of lawyers between the United States and foreign countries. He also served for over 15 years on the Board of Directors of the United Nations Association (UNA/USA) where he was Chair of the Advocacy Committee.
Joseph Englehardt is a retired U.S. Army colonel and a former international peacekeeper with over 35 years’ experience in the Middle East. He was the U.S. Defense Attaché in Cairo. He also served in Tehran, Ankara, and Beirut. Colonel Englehardt was the Director of Middle East Studies at the U.S. Army War College and Military Adviser to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Returning to Cairo, he was the Representative of the Director General of the Multinational Force and Observers, overseeing implementation of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel from 1998 to 2004.
Ambassador (ret.) Arthur Hughes is a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer. After his retirement from the Foreign Service in 1997, he was appointed Director General of the Multinational Force and Observers by Egypt and Israel in August 1998, serving as head of this peacekeeping operation until July, 2004. Since then he has been a Scholar at the Middle East Institute, board member of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, and Senior Advisor to the Jerusalem Old City Initiative. His most senior positions in government service were United States Ambassador to Yemen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Near East and South Asia, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs. He is a recipient of the President’s Distinguished Service Award.
Ambassador (ret.) Richard W. Murphy had a 34-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service. After retiring in 1989, he joined the Council on Foreign Relations in New York as the Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for the Middle East (1989-2004). He was previously Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs (1983-89), as well as ambassador to Syria, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, and the Philippines. He is a three-time recipient of the President’s Distinguished Service Award and a two-time recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award.
Jean Newsom is former executive director of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. A graduate of the University of California/Berkeley, she has also been editor of the Middle East Journal and publications director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.
Gail Pressberg is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Civil Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting breakthroughs in civil society that address pressing issues of the day. Prior to holding these positions, Ms. Pressberg was is the Arab Affairs Policy Consultant for Americans for Peace Now, as well as the Director of the Center for Israeli Peace and Security. She also served as the Executive Director of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. For her efforts in bringing Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab leaders together, Ms. Pressberg was honored by the University of Pennsylvania with its Janet Lee Stevens Memorial Award.
Michael Van Dusen is Senior Advisor to the President for Alumni Relations of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He held the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer from 1999-2014. Prior to his time at the Wilson Center, he worked for close to 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as staff consultant and then staff director of the Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East of the Committee of Foreign Affairs, then Chief of Staff of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; and finally as Democratic Chief of Staff of the Committee on International Relations. He holds a doctorate from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
Ambassador (ret.) Nicholas A. Veliotes is a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer and chairman of FMEP’s Board of Directors. He served as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, as well as Ambassador to Jordan and Egypt and Deputy Chief of Mission in Tel Aviv. He is a member of the Middle East Institute, the Council on Foreign Relation and Veterans of Foreign Wars, and he also serves on the Boards of AMIDEAST and the American Academy of Diplomacy.
Ambassador (ret.) Philip C. Wilcox, Jr. retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 1997 after a 31-year career, and was president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace from 2001 to 2014. During his career as a diplomat, he was Consul General in Jerusalem (1988-91), Director for Israeli and Arab-Israeli Affairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, and Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Counter-terrorism, from which he retired. He has been awarded the Department of State’s Meritorious, Superior, and Presidential Honor Awards. He serves as Chairman of the Board of American Friends of UNRWA, and is a member of the boards of the Rostropovitch-Vishnevskaya Foundation, the International Student House in Washington, DC, and the Washington Institute for Foreign Affairs.
Molly Williamson is a retired Foreign Service Officer, having served six presidents, achieving the rank of Career Minister. She is a scholar with the Middle East Institute, a consultant, and frequent guest lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management (DISAM), and National Joint Staff College. Williamson has been a distinguished scholar in residence with the National Council on US-Arab Relations since 2010. She is also a member of Georgetown University’s MSFS oral boards, and a Director on several Boards. Williamson was the Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Energy with global responsibilities at the nexus of foreign policy and energy policy. When Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Williamson was responsible for the Middle East, South Asia, Oceania and Africa, advancing trade relations with 86 countries with a trade portfolio valued at over $120 billion/year. Williamson was Principal Deputy, then Acting Assistant Secretary of State, International Organizations Bureau, responsible for the policy and programs affecting UN political and Security Council matters, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Williamson was responsible for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. She has had numerous diplomatic postings in the Middle East, including heading up our diplomatic missions to Bahrain, and Jerusalem during the Madrid Peace Process, which culminated in the Oslo Accords.