John Tefft

John Tefft
Adjunct Senior Fellow
Off Site Office


M.A. in history, Georgetown University; B.A. in history, Marquette University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

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John F. Tefft is an adjunct senior fellow at the RAND Corporation and retired United States diplomat. He was a career Foreign Service officer for more than 45 years, completing his service as the U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation from 2014 to 2017. He earlier served as the U.S. ambassador to Lithuania from 2000 to 2003, ambassador to Georgia from 2005 to 2009, and ambassador to Ukraine from 2009 to 2013. He worked from 2004 to 2005 as the deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs responsible for U.S. relations with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova.

Tefft originally retired from the Foreign Service in September 2013 and served as executive director of the RAND Corporation's U.S.-Russia Business Leaders Forum from October 2013 to August 2014 until his recall to duty and confirmation as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation.

From 2003 to 2004 Tefft was the international affairs advisor at the National War College in Washington, D.C. He was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Moscow from 1996 to 1999, and was chargé d'affaires from November 1996 to September 1997. His other Foreign Service assignments include Jerusalem, Budapest, and Rome.

Among the awards Tefft has received are the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award in 2017, the State Department's Distinguished Honor Award in 1992, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Year Award for his service in Moscow in 1999 and the Diplomacy for Human Rights Award in 2013. He received Presidential Meritorious Service Awards in 2001 and 2005.

Tefft holds an M.A. in history from Georgetown University and a B.A. in history from Marquette University.

Honors & Awards

  • Distinguished Service Award, U.S. Secretary of State
  • Distinguished Honor Award, U.S. State Department
  • Presidential Meritorious Service Award

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: BBC World News; Bloomberg Television; MSNBC, All In With Chris Hayes; New Republic; NewsNation