Rice Baker Institute’s David Satterfield appointed special envoy to Middle East by President Biden

David Satterfield

HOUSTON – (Oct. 16, 2023) – David Satterfield, director of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon and Turkey, was appointed Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues by President Joe Biden Oct. 15 to coordinate diplomatic efforts to address the critical humanitarian issues resulting from Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel.

David Satterfield
David Satterfield

“It is an honor and privilege to be asked by the President to take on this responsibility,” Satterfield wrote in an announcement to Baker Institute staff. “It is a mark of the high regard in which the institute and Rice University are held, notably by Secretary (of State Antony) Blinken — who was our guest just two weeks ago. I appreciate the support both (former) Secretary (of State James) Baker and (Rice) President (Reginald) DesRoches have offered to me; I will remain in my position as director through what is envisioned as a temporary mission.”

Satterfield’s more than four decades of diplomatic experience in some of the world’s most challenging conflicts will be instrumental, according to the State Department’s press release.

“Special Envoy Satterfield will lead U.S. diplomacy to urgently address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, including work to facilitate the provision of life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people and promote the safety of civilians, in coordination with the United Nations and U.S. partners,” the release read. “He will lead a whole-of-government campaign to mitigate the humanitarian fallout of Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel, supporting critical efforts by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. His role builds on the long-standing U.S. commitment to supporting peace and stability in the region.”

In addition to his directorship, Satterfield leads the institute’s Edward P. Djerejian Center for the Middle East and is the Janice and Robert McNair Chair in Public Policy. Learn more about his diplomatic experience here.