Expert Alert: Djerejian available to comment on worsening Syrian crisis

David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Djerejian available to comment on worsening Syrian crisis
The founding director of Rice University’s Baker Institute is a former US ambassador to Syria and assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs

HOUSTON – (June 27, 2012) – Edward Djerejian, founding director of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and former U.S. ambassador to Syria, is available to comment on the deteriorating situation inside Syria and the implications of the crisis for U.S. policymakers. Earlier this month Djerejian traveled to Istanbul, where he met with Turkish policy experts and Syrian opposition representatives.

As U.S. ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic from 1988 to 1991, he dealt extensively with Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafez, who was president of Syria from 1970 to 2000. He has also met with Bashar al-Assad. “I’ll never forget,” Djerejian said. “Bashar al-Assad said, ‘The people have to be ready for structural reform. One cannot rush into it. Therefore, I will be instituting administrative reforms.’ That’s fine if you’re talking about 2003. When I heard the same thing in 2011, I knew the regime was not serious about reforms.”

Djerejian led the Baker Institute’s U.S.-Syria academic and policy dialogue from 2002 to 2005.

“There can be a Srebrenica moment in Syria where the humanitarian crisis becomes so overwhelming that the international community acts decisively despite more level-headed thinking,” Djerejian said. “In absence of that, the West is going to have to be deliberate in its diplomacy, pressure the regime and support the opposition, and demonstrate patience but strong resolve.”

A leading expert on the complex political, security, economic, religious and ethnic issues of the Middle East and South Asia, Djerejian served in the U.S. Foreign Service under eight presidents, from John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton. Prior to his nomination by Clinton as U.S. ambassador to Israel, he was assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs in both the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations.

Djerejian is also the author of the book “Danger and Opportunity: An American Ambassador’s Journey Through the Middle East.”

The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Djerejian. For more information, contact Jeff Falk at or 713-348-6775.

To see a previously aired interview with Djerejian, click below or go to

Edward Djerejian interview


Related materials:

Djerejian on Twitter: @edwarddjerejian

Djerejian biography:

Edward Djerejian








Photo courtesy: Rice University’s Baker Institute

Founded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute sponsors more than 20 programs that conduct research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.