About the Speaker

This program was made possible by, and hosted in partnership with, the American Academy of Diplomacy.

Ambassador James Jeffrey

Ambassador James F. Jeffrey is the Philip Solondz distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute where he focuses on U.S. diplomatic and military strategy in the Middle East, with emphasis on Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.

One of the nation’s most senior diplomats, Ambassador Jeffrey has held a series of highly sensitive posts in Washington D.C. and abroad. In addition to his service as ambassador in Ankara and Baghdad, he served as assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration, with a special focus on Iran. He previously served as principal deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the Department of State, where his responsibilities included leading the Iran policy team and coordinating public diplomacy. Earlier appointments included service as senior advisor on Iraq to the secretary of state; chargé d’affaires and deputy chief of mission in Baghdad; deputy chief of mission in Ankara; and ambassador to Albania.

A former infantry officer in the U.S. army, Ambassador Jeffrey served in Germany and Vietnam from 1969 to 1976.

Ambassador Marilyn McAfee

Ambassador Marilyn McAfee (Ret.) served as a career foreign service officer for 31 years receiving the Presidential Meritorious Award, the Superior Honor Award and the Distinguished Honor Award. She was promoted to the rank of Career Minister in 1997. 

Assignments included four and a half years in Iran and subsequently three years in Washington on the Iran Desk during the Revolution and hostage taking. She also had responsibilities for Afghanistan and Pakistan and made multiple visits to both counties. Official travel included ten weeks in Israel and visits to Lebanon. Since retiring, she has participated in World Affairs Councils of America special delegation visits to Morocco, Egypt and Jordan. In January 2009 she went to Baghdad at the invitation of Ambssador Ryan Crocker to meet with Iraqi officials and help launch the new U.S.-Iraq relationship. Democracy building and conflict resolution have often been a special focus in Ambassador McAfee’s assignments, many of which were in Latin America including Guatemala, where she began her career and returned to serve as U.S. Ambassador 1993-1996.

Ambassador McAfee received her Bachelor’s degree (with honors) in History from the University of Pennsylvania and her Master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University.