John E. Herbst

Director, Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center

herbst john-2

Expert Connect

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International Security, Middle East Security, NATO and its Partners, US Foreign Policy, US-Afghanistan Relations


Central Asia, Eurasia, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Russia, Ukraine



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Recent Activity

  • November 24, 2015
    The shoot-down by Turkish fighters of a Russian warplane in Turkish airspace is an event of major significance in Syria, Ukraine, and beyond.  The savage attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Paris on Nov. 13
  • November 15, 2015
    Kyiv Day quotes Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center Director John E. Herbst on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s likely policy toward Ukraine as Russia seeks to extricate itself from the rising costs of its aggression there:
  • November 04, 2015
    DEN quotes Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center Director John E. Herbst on the need for increased military assistance to Ukraine and the funding proposed in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act:
  • November 04, 2015
    Voice of America Russian Service quotes Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center Director John E. Herbst on Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Central Asia:
  • November 03, 2015
    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's government appears to have launched a new anticorruption drive with the October 31 detention of Gennadiy Korban, a close associate of oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky and the leader of Ukrop, a political party funded by Kolomoisky. The
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Full Bio

John E. Herbst is Director of the Atlantic Council's Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. 

Ambassador Herbst served for thirty-one years as a Foreign Service Officer in the US Department of State, retiring at the rank of Career-Minister. He was US Ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006, when he worked to enhance US-Ukrainian relations, help ensure the conduct of a fair Ukrainian presidential election, and prevent violence during the Orange Revolution. Prior to that, he was Ambassador to Uzbekistan (2000-03), where he played a critical role in the establishment of an American base to help conduct Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He also promoted improved US-Uzbek relations, in part by encouraging the government in Tashkent to improve its human rights record.

In his last four years at the State Department, he served as the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, leading the US government's civilian capacity in societies in transition from conflict or civil strife, and to provide support to countries at risk of instability. He oversaw the establishment of the Civilian Response Corps of the United States, the US civilian rapid response force for reconstruction and stabilization operations overseas.

Ambassador Herbst previously served as US Consul General in Jerusalem; Principal Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for the Newly Independent States; the Director of the Office of Independent States and Commonwealth Affairs; Director of Regional Affairs in the Near East Bureau; and at the embassies in Tel Aviv, Moscow, and Saudi Arabia. 

He most recently served as Director of the Center for Complex Operations at National Defense University. He has received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State’s Career Achievement Award, and the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award. Ambassador Herbst has written book chapters, articles, and op-eds on stability operations in Central Asia, Ukraine, and Russia. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the National Interest, and Foreign Policy. He has been a frequent guest discussing the Ukraine crisis on television and radio. 

Ambassador Herbst earned a bachelor of science in foreign service from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Phi Beta Kappa, and a master of law and diplomacy, with distinction, from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. He also attended the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies Bologna Center. ​