Jeffrey Feltman

John C. Whitehead Visiting Fellow in International Diplomacy – Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology

Jeffrey Feltman is the John C. Whitehead Visiting Fellow in International Diplomacy in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. His research includes examining United Nations and other mediation efforts to draw lessons about potential improvements in multilateral conflict prevention and resolution in an increasingly polarized global context. From April 2021 to January 2022, Feltman served as the special envoy for the Horn of Africa for the Department of State. He is also a senior fellow at the Washington-based United Nations Foundation and a distinguished visiting fellow at Asia Society Policy Institute.

Before joining Brookings, he served for nearly six years as the under-secretary-general for political affairs at the United Nations in New York. In that capacity, he traveled extensively and was the chief foreign policy advisor to both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Feltman frequently briefed the Security Council in both public and closed-door sessions on a wide variety of peace and security issues, including on thematic issues such as terrorism and nuclear proliferation, as well as on country-specific conflicts. From 2016 until his April 2018 retirement from the U.N., he also was the special envoy for the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559 (2004).

As part of his U.N. responsibilities, Feltman was the chairperson of the U.N.’s Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and the executive director of the U.N. Counter-Terrorism Center from July 2012 until July 2017. United Nations special envoys and special representatives heading U.N. political missions reported to the secretary-general through Feltman and received guidance from him. He oversaw U.N. mediation and conflict prevention work and also served as the U.N.’s focal point on election assistance to approximately 50 countries annually.

Feltman was a U.S. foreign service officer for over 26 years, focusing largely on the Middle East and North Africa. Feltman was the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from 2009 until his retirement from the State Department, with the rank of career minister, in May 2012. Before his 2004-08 tenure as U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, Feltman also served in Erbil, Baghdad, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Tunis, Amman, Budapest, and Port-au-Prince. Feltman is a two-time winner of the Presidential Service Award, as well as a recipient of State Department awards, including several Superior Honor Awards and the James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence in Leadership. The American Foreign Service Association conferred the Christian A. Herter Award for Constructive Dissent and also the Sinclaire Language Award.

A native of Greenville, Ohio, Feltman has a master’s in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree in history and art from Ball State University. In May 2013, Ball State University awarded Feltman an honorary doctorate. He is a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the American Council on Germany.


  • American Academy of Diplomacy, board of directors, member
  • American Council on Germany, member
  • American Foreign Service Association, member
  • Berghof Foundation, advisory board, member
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies, Commission on Hostage-Taking and Wrongful Detentions, member
  • Dialogue Advisory Group, board of advisors
  • European Institute of Peace, senior advisor
  • International Foundation for Electoral Systems, board of directors, member
  • Middle East Institute, member, board of governors
  • Syria Strategy Project, member, strategic advisors group
  • Current Positions

    • Senior Fellow, United Nations Foundation
    • Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Past Positions

    • Inaugural James. N. Mattis Distinguished Visitor (Class of Spring 2023), American Academy in Berlin
    • Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, United Nations (July 2012-April 2018)
    • Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, U.S State Department (August 2009-May 2012)
    • Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. State Department (February 2008-August 2009)
    • U.S. Ambassador, U.S. Embassy, Beirut, Lebanon (August 2004-January 2008)
    • Deputy Coordinator for Northern Iraq, Coalition Provisional Authority, Irbil, Iraq (January 2004-May 2004)
    • U.S. Deputy Principal Officer, U.S. Consulate-General, Jerusalem (August 2001-December 2005)
  • Education

    • M.A., Law and Diplomacy, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, 1983
    • B.A., History and Art, Ball State University, 1981
Filter by