This position directs and supervises all activities of the Middle East Bureau and its overseas operations.
Tamara Cofman Wittes is President Biden’s nominee for Assistant Administrator for Middle East at the United States Agency for International Development.
Dr. Wittes has been a Fellow at Brookings since 2003 focusing on Middle Eastern Affairs and previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs from 2009 to 2012.
Past statements on development, diplomacy, and U.S. global leadership:
On Diplomacy. Dr. Wittes wrote in a 2021 Brookings report about America’s role in the Middle East, “America’s greatest positive impact over most of its history in the region has been through diplomatic tools.” (source)
On Democracy: In her 2011 testimony in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Arab Spring, Dr. Wittes said that, “We have an opportunity now to help promote a lasting stability in the Middle East that will only come through democratic and economic reforms that will write a new social contract between governments and citizens. … Democracies give people a stake in their governance.” (source)
On National Security: In a 2019 Lawfare Blog on women in national security roles, Dr. Wittes said that, “Achieving gender balance in foreign policy leadership is good for national security—and good for the men and women in the field, as well.” (source)
On Women: In a 2011 testimony in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Arab Spring, Dr. Wittes said that,“The full participation of women is an essential ingredient for any democracy. Therefore, we are committed to championing women’s full participation in the new democracies now emerging and in the reforms that are underway across the region.” (source)