News Release

Jean-David Levitte, Former French Ambassador to the U.S., Joins Brookings as Distinguished Fellow

October 3, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jean-David Levitte, former French ambassador to the United States, has joined the Brookings Institution as a distinguished fellow, Brookings President Strobe Talbott announced today.

Levitte had a distinguished career serving on the staff of three French presidents and holding various senior positions in the French Foreign Service. At Brookings, Levitte will affiliate with the Foreign Policy program and participate in a wide range of events and research projects.

“We are honored to have a diplomat of Ambassador Levitte’s stature join Brookings,” Talbott said. “Jean-David has been a leading figure in France’s foreign policy decision-making over the past four decades. We look forward to his contributions to Brookings and our Foreign Policy program.”

Ambassador Levitte served as senior diplomatic adviser to French President Jacques Chirac from 1995 to 2000, until Chirac appointed him as France’s permanent representative to the United Nations. Levitte later served as ambassador of France to the United States from December 2002 until May 2007. After serving four-and-a-half years in Washington, D.C., President Nicolas Sarkozy’s appointed Levitte as his senior diplomatic adviser and sherpa—Sarkozy’s personal representative in preparations for international summits. 

Levitte joined the French Foreign Service in the early 1970s, and early in his career, held postings in Hong Kong and Geneva. From 1975 to 1981, Levitte worked on the staff of President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing at the Elysée Palace, and later was named as second counselor in the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in New York. Levitte went on to appointments as deputy assistant secretary in the French Foreign Ministry’s African Bureau, as deputy chief of staff to the Foreign Minister, a position he held from 1986 to 1988, and in the 1990s, as assistant secretary for Asia and then undersecretary for cultural and scientific cooperation.

“Ambassador Levitte has had an exemplary career as a diplomat, representing France at the United Nations and here in the United States,” said Martin Indyk, vice president and director of Foreign Policy. “Brookings will benefit greatly from his involvement in our programs and research activities.”

Ambassador Levitte holds a degree in law and is a graduate of the renowned Institute for Political Science in Paris and of the National School of Oriental Languages, where he studied Chinese and Indonesian.

Brookings’s distinguished fellows are individuals of particularly noteworthy distinction whose work across several fields of public policy puts them at the pinnacle of worldwide research and policy impact. Distinguished fellows are actively engaged in the life of the Institution, often with more than one of Brookings’s five research programs. In assuming the title, Levitte joins Sadako Ogata, former president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and United Nations high commissioner for refugees; Jon Huntsman, former ambassador to China and Singapore and governor of Utah; Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former U.S. secretary of health and human services; Itamar Rabinovich, an Israeli diplomat, scholar, and university president; Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania; Thomas Pickering, a career U.S. ambassador and former under secretary of state for political affairs; and Javier Solana, former secretary general of NATO and the European Union’s high representative for foreign and security policy.

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