WASHINGTON, DC, April 1, 2019 – The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington announces the retirement of its president, Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba. AGSIW’s board of directors has given its concurrence, and Wahba will retire in May. The board will soon announce its decision on her successor.
AGSIW Board Chair Ambassador Frank G. Wisner said, “Marcelle led the development of this important new organization from its outset. She worked tirelessly to create it from scratch and in a few short years has established it as a recognized and influential part of the Washington conversation about our policies toward, and relations with, the Gulf Arab countries. We’re profoundly grateful to Marcelle for her bold, visionary leadership and indispensable contribution to ensuring the institute’s long-term viability in Washington’s foreign policy community.”
Wahba was appointed by the board of directors on December 10, 2014 to serve as the founding president of AGSIW – the first organization of its kind to focus exclusively on the Gulf Arab states. From a skeleton staff at that time, AGSIW’s team has grown under Wahba’s leadership to include recognized scholars, veteran diplomats, and experienced professionals from diverse backgrounds. Drawing on over two decades of diplomatic service, she has guided the scholarship and analysis on the Gulf Arab countries and U.S. foreign policy toward the region. Under her direction, AGSIW has become a sought-after resource for the policymaking and business communities, academia, and the news media, and has established its credibility through expansive programming and publications. Additionally, Wahba has made AGSIW a key platform for bringing Gulf Arab voices to Washington to enhance direct dialogue and build bridges of mutual understanding.
Reflecting on her tenure as AGSIW president, Wahba said, “Building and leading such a dedicated and resourceful team has been an amazing experience for me from day one. Our board of directors has been extraordinarily supportive, and I am humbled by the response we have received to our efforts to reveal the complex dyamics shaping the Gulf Arab states as well as their relationships with the United States and the world. “
In recognition of her dedicated service, the board of directors has appointed Wahba president emerita and distinguished fellow of AGSIW, and has invited her to maintain a close association with the institute.
About Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba
Before joining AGSIW, Wahba led DerMar International, LLC, a consulting firm focused on assisting American businesses seeking to establish or expand their presence in the Middle East. Consulting assignments included PineBridge Investments, Booz Allen Hamilton, the Department of Defense, and Northrop Grumman. Wahba retired from the U.S. Department of State in May 2008, class of Minister Counselor, after a 22-year career spent mostly in the Middle East. Wahba was confirmed as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates in October 2001. She received the White House Presidential Meritorious Service Award for her service in the UAE and was decorated with the UAE’s Order of Independence. Her Washington assignments included serving at the Pentagon as the foreign affairs advisor to the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force and as the deputy at the National War College of the National Defense University at Fort McNair. Wahba is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, serves on the board of CIEE, and is on the board of advisors to the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce.
The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington (AGSIW), launched in 2015, is an independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to providing expert research and analysis of the social, economic, and political dimensions of the Gulf Arab states and how they impact domestic and foreign policy. AGSIW focuses on issues ranging from politics and security to economics, trade, and business; from social dynamics to civil society and culture. Through programs, publications, and scholarly exchanges the institute seeks to encourage thoughtful debate and inform the U.S. policy community regarding this critical geostrategic region.