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Zach Vertin

Zach Vertin

Visiting Fellow - Brookings Doha Center

Nonresident Fellow - Foreign Policy

Zach Vertin is a nonresident fellow in the Brookings Foreign Policy program and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, where he specializes in the Gulf, the Horn of Africa, and the changing geopolitics of the Red Sea. He is also a lecturer of public and international affairs at Princeton University. From 2013-16, he served in the Obama administration as director of policy for the U.S. special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, which spearheaded policymaking on behalf of the State Department and the White House. Vertin previously spent six years at the International Crisis Group, where he served as senior analyst for the Horn of Africa, and as advisor on peace operations and multilateral affairs in the U.N. Security Council.

Vertin has worked in conflict zones and on a variety of peace processes and multilateral negotiations. He was a principal adviser to the chief mediator of the South Sudan peace process 2014-2016, and an architect of a U.S. diplomatic initiative on U.S.-Sudan bilateral relations, an effort that led to a presidential action in 2017. Vertin’s new book “A Rope from the Sky: The Making and Unmaking of the World’s Newest State” (Pegasus Books | Amberley Publishing) chronicles the turbulent birth—and subsequent collapse—of the Republic of South Sudan.

Vertin was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and has consulted for the International Peace Institute, the Atlantic Council, and the U.S. Institute of Peace. He is also a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has published reports, op-eds, and contributed expert commentary to television, radio, print, and online media for: The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, LA Times, Foreign Affairs, Economist, CNN, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Le Monde, Reuters, Bloomberg, Foreign Policy, and the BBC.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and master’s degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Zach Vertin is a nonresident fellow in the Brookings Foreign Policy program and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, where he specializes in the Gulf, the Horn of Africa, and the changing geopolitics of the Red Sea. He is also a lecturer of public and international affairs at Princeton University. From 2013-16, he served in the Obama administration as director of policy for the U.S. special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, which spearheaded policymaking on behalf of the State Department and the White House. Vertin previously spent six years at the International Crisis Group, where he served as senior analyst for the Horn of Africa, and as advisor on peace operations and multilateral affairs in the U.N. Security Council.

Vertin has worked in conflict zones and on a variety of peace processes and multilateral negotiations. He was a principal adviser to the chief mediator of the South Sudan peace process 2014-2016, and an architect of a U.S. diplomatic initiative on U.S.-Sudan bilateral relations, an effort that led to a presidential action in 2017. Vertin’s new book “A Rope from the Sky: The Making and Unmaking of the World’s Newest State” (Pegasus Books | Amberley Publishing) chronicles the turbulent birth—and subsequent collapse—of the Republic of South Sudan.

Vertin was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and has consulted for the International Peace Institute, the Atlantic Council, and the U.S. Institute of Peace. He is also a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has published reports, op-eds, and contributed expert commentary to television, radio, print, and online media for: The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, LA Times, Foreign Affairs, Economist, CNN, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Le Monde, Reuters, Bloomberg, Foreign Policy, and the BBC.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and master’s degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

"A Rope from the Sky" book cover

“The still-unfolding tragedy of South Sudan is too little understood and too little known, even among foreign policy experts. Zach Vertin is a rare exception...An important read.”
JOHN KERRY, 68th U.S. Secretary of State

“An engrossingly written account...A Rope from the Sky is a must-read for warriors, diplomats, relief experts, and would-be peace negotiators anywhere in the world.”
JON LEE ANDERSON, staff writer, THE NEW YORKER 

"Honesty about his subject dunks your head deep in the muddy waters of reality... a rich and well written narrative”
– THOMAS R. PICKERING, former U.S. Under Secretary of State

“A political roller coaster from Africa to the White House and back. ”
BARTON GELLMAN, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author

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