WASHINGTON, DC, May 6, 2019 – The board of directors of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington announces the appointment of Ambassador Douglas A. Silliman as the institute’s new president. Silliman will start in his post June 3.
AGSIW Board Chair Ambassador Frank G. Wisner announced that Silliman will succeed Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba, the institute’s founding president. Speaking on behalf of the board of directors, he said, “Doug is a gifted foreign-policy professional, and we are extremely pleased to have him assume direction of AGSIW at a very important moment, both for the region and for the organization itself.” Wisner noted that Silliman’s background in the Foreign Service, with particular expertise in the Middle East as ambassador to Kuwait and Iraq, make him especially well-suited for his new role. Wisner stressed, “There is no more demanding post in the entire Foreign Service, or one more central to our national interest, than chief of mission in Baghdad. Doug understands very well that international relationships require a candid and robust exchange of perspectives to succeed, and that notion is very much at the heart of AGSIW’s mission.”
In anticipation of his new role as AGSIW president, Silliman said, “I am very grateful to the board for the confidence it has shown in me and look forward to working with our directors and the terrific team Marcelle Wahba has assembled to ensure the continued success of the institute.“ The increasingly influential role Gulf Arab states are playing in regional and global affairs “places a premium on AGSIW’s unique ability to provide timely and informed insight into what is driving their policy choices,” Silliman stated. He concluded: “My goal is to build on the institute’s demonstrated strengths and secure its place as a thought leader on the issues most relevant to the U.S. relationship with key partners in the region.”
About Ambassador Douglas A. Silliman
Silliman retired from the U.S. Department of State in April, capping a career that spanned 35 years. His last assignment was U.S. ambassador to Iraq, from 2016-19; he served as U.S. ambassador to Kuwait from 2014-16. From 2013-14, he served as a senior advisor in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department. Over the course of his career, Silliman received numerous awards, including a 2018 Presidential Distinguished Service Award from President Donald J. Trump, and, in 2007, the Secretary’s Award for Public Outreach. In addition to his tours of duty in Iraq and Kuwait, Silliman served in Haiti, Tunisia, Pakistan, Jordan, and Turkey. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Baylor University in Texas and a Master of Arts in international relations from the George Washington University.
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. foreign-policy and business communities regarding this critical geostrategic region.