2010 Payne Lecture Series: The Struggle for the Broader Middle East: Where We Are and Where We Need to Go


  • The Honorable Zalmay Khalilzad

Zalmay Khalilzad is President and CEO of Khalilzad Associates LLC, an international advisory firm. He serves as a Counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and sits on the Boards of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), America Abroad Media (AAM), the RAND Corporation's Middle East Studies Center, the American University of Iraq in Suleymania (AUIS), and the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF).

Dr. Khalilzad served as U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2007-2009, a post for which he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Prior to that position, he spent more than two years in Baghdad as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq

He previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan (2003-2005), Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan (2001-2003), and Special Presidential Envoy and Ambassador at Large for Free Iraqis (2002-2003).

Dr. Khalilzad held a series of high level positions at the National Security Council and in the White House between 2001 and 2003, including Special Assistant to the President for Islamic Outreach and Southwest Asia Initiatives, and Special Assistant for Southwest Asia, Near East, and North African Affairs. He is the recipient of three Distinguished Public Service Medals, one each from three consecutive Secretaries of Defense.

Between 1993 and 1999, he was Director of the Strategy, Doctrine and Force Structure program for RAND's Project Air Force. At RAND, he also founded the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

Dr. Khalilzad previously served as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning from 1990 to 1992. He served on the State Department's Policy Planning Staff and as Special Advisor to the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs from 1985 to 1989.

Earlier in his career, he was an associate professor at the University of California at San Diego and an assistant professor of Political Science at Columbia University. Ambassador Khalilzad earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, as well as a PhD from the University of Chicago. He regularly appears on U.S. and foreign media outlets to share his foreign policy expertise.