Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian is the founding director of Rice University's Baker Institute. His career in the U.S. Foreign Service spanned the administrations of eight presidents from John F. Kennedy to William J. Clinton. Djerejian is a leading expert on national security, foreign policy and the complex political, security, economic, religious and ethnic issues of the Middle East and South Asia. He has played key roles in the Arab-Israeli peace process and regional conflict resolution.
He is the author of “Danger and Opportunity: An American Ambassador's Journey Through the Middle East” (Simon & Schuster Threshold Editions, September 2008; paperback edition, August 2009).
Prior to his nomination by President Clinton as U.S. ambassador to Israel, he served both President George H.W. Bush and President Clinton as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs and President Ronald Reagan and President Bush as U.S. ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic. He was special assistant to President Reagan and deputy press secretary for foreign affairs in the White House.
Djerejian joined the Foreign Service in 1962, and his foreign assignments included political officer in Beirut, Lebanon, and Casablanca, Morocco; deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Jordan; and consul general in Bordeaux, France. He headed the political section in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during the critical period in U.S.-Soviet relations marked by the invasion of Afghanistan. He served in the United States Army as a first lieutenant in the Republic of Korea following his graduation from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Georgetown, as well as a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from Middlebury College.
Djerejian has been awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Department of State's Distinguished Honor Award, the President's Meritorious Service Award, the Anti-Defamation League’s Moral Statesman Award, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. He is also a recipient of the Association of Rice Alumni’s Gold Medal, the group’s most prestigious award, for his service to the university. In 2011, Djerejian was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent policy research centers. Also in 2011, he was named to the board of trustees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. In 2013, Djerejian was elected independent chairman of the board of directors of Occidental Petroleum Corporation.
Djerejian was asked by Secretary of State Colin Powell to chair a congressionally mandated bipartisan Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World. The bipartisan advisory group published its report in October 2003. Former President Clinton invited him to serve as an advisory board member of the Clinton Global Initiative’s working group on Mitigating Religious and Ethnic Conflict in 2006. Djerejian also served in 2006 as senior advisor to the Iraq Study Group (ISG), a bipartisan panel mandated by Congress to assess the situation in Iraq. The Baker Institute was an organizing sponsor of the ISG.
Djerejian is married to the former Françoise Andrée Liliane Marie Haelters. They have a son, Gregory Peter Djerejian; a daughter, Francesca Natalia Djerejian; and two grandchildren, Isabel Alessandra Djerejian and Sebastian Edward Djerejian.