Former U.S. Ambassador David Aaron to Direct RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy

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November 4, 2004

David Aaron, a senior RAND Corporation fellow and veteran American diplomat who helped set up the negotiations for the Camp David peace agreement between Israel and Egypt in 1978, has been appointed director of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy (CMEPP).

“David Aaron’s decades of experience dealing with Middle East and other international policy issues at the highest levels will be a tremendous asset to the clients RAND serves,” said RAND President and CEO James A. Thomson, who announced the appointment today.

The Center for Middle East Public Policy was created 10 years ago to provide analysis to both government and private sector clients in order to promote greater understanding, political stability, peace, and well being in the Middle East. The Center has advised clients about economic, social, military and political affairs throughout the region.

CMEPP is currently engaged in a multi-year project called the Initiative for Middle East Youth, which develops and tests ideas for bringing young people greater economic, social and political opportunity. Additionally, CMEPP has designed educational programs for children in Afghanistan, analyzed Turkish foreign policy and Turkey’s integration into the European Union, examined Internet growth in the region and convened a science and technology task force to address the region’s needs.

CMEPP activities are concentrated in three areas:

  • Analyzing the technical, operational, strategic, political and human dimensions of international affairs in the Middle East.
  • Researching education and social welfare issues that are at the core of Middle East sociopolitical and economic stability.
  • Developing and assessing programs for political, social and economic reform in the Arab world.

Aaron replaces Bruce Hoffman, who has been the acting director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy since April.

In addition to his role as director, Aaron will serve on Board of Overseers of the RAND-Qatar Policy Institute. The Institute is a partnership between RAND and the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. It harnesses the research and analytic skills of RAND experts in Qatar, the United States and Europe to study some of the most important issues facing the greater Middle East.

Before Aaron joined RAND last year, he held a variety of diplomatic and private sector positions.

Joining the Foreign Service in 1962, Aaron left the executive branch to serve on the Senate staff of Walter F. Mondale. He later served as task force director for the Senate Intelligence Committee, and as Deputy National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter. During the Carter Administration, Aaron was also a confidential presidential emissary to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia. In his role as Middle East emissary, Aaron helped set up the Camp David talks.

During the Clinton Administration, Aaron served as ambassador and U.S. representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, special White House envoy for cryptography and undersecretary of commerce for international trade.

In the private sector, Aaron held senior positions at Oppenheimer & Co., a financial services firm, from 1981 to 1993. After leaving government service in 2000, he became a senior international advisor to Dorsey & Whitney, a law firm.

Aaron has served as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of the Atlantic Council and on the Steering Committee for Homeland Security. He holds degrees from Occidental College and Princeton University.

In addition, Aaron has written three novels, and was the writer of a documentary on Operation Desert Storm, “The Lessons of War.” He was awarded the National Defense Medal in 1981.


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