The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council will host a discussion over lunch featuring keynote remarks by Barbara Leaf, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Peninsula Affairs in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, on Wednesday, January 15th, in Washington, D.C. The event will provide a unique opportunity for private and public sector stakeholders to hear DAS Leaf discuss her insights into the U.S.-U.A.E. relationship and perspectives on regional geopolitics impacting U.S. engagement with the Gulf and broader Middle East. For your reference, her biography can be found below.
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Arabian Peninsula Affairs
Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
U.S. Department of State
Barbara A. Leaf assumed her duties as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Peninsula Affairs in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs on May 6, 2013. Prior to her current assignment, she was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq Affairs from 2011-2013. Ms. Leaf directed the U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team in the strategic province of Basrah, Iraq from 2010-2011, leaving an assignment as Political Minister Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy, to oversee the PRT’s transition to a U.S. Consulate General. Prior to Rome, Ms. Leaf served as the first Director of the Department of State’s Office of Iranian Affairs. The new office was announced by Secretary of State Rice in March 2006, as part of a wider initiative to bring policy focus to bear on Iran, rebuild a cadre of language and country expertise within the Department, and substantially increase people-to-people exchanges between the United States and Iran. In addition to the country affairs office, Ms. Leaf directed the activities of a network of new “Iran watcher” positions in U.S. embassies abroad, as well as the new Iran Regional Presence Post in Dubai, UAE.
Prior to this assignment, from 2004-2006 Ms. Leaf served as Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where she helped advance key U.S. policy goals on democratization and political reform, counter-terrorism, and regional reintegration among the former combatant states of the former Yugoslavia. From 2003-2004, she directed the Regional Headquarters of the Office of the High Representative (OHR), in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina, enforcing local implementation of civilian aspects of the Dayton peace accords, including the return of refugees to areas from which they had been ethnically cleansed.
From 2001 to 2003 Ms. Leaf served as Advisor to the Department’s Medical Director, in a position created in the wake of September 11 to develop medical and security programs to counter and respond to chemical/biological/nuclear threats to U.S. diplomatic installations abroad.
From 1996-2000, Ms. Leaf served as the Department’s Middle East “Watcher” at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, reporting on French policies on Iraq, Iran, the Arab-Israeli dispute, Libya, and terrorism issues.
Ms. Leaf’s previous tours include assignments in Cairo, as Kuwait Desk Officer during the first Gulf War, Jerusalem, the Department’s Operations Center, and Port-au-Prince.
Ms. Leaf is a member of the Senior Foreign Service. She has received six Superior Honor and two Meritorious Honor Awards. She received her B.A. in Government from the College of William and Mary and a Master’s Degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia, with a focus on Soviet Affairs.
Ms. Leaf speaks and reads Arabic, French, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian. She is married and has two daughters.