Atlantic Council

John E. Herbst

Director, Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center

herbst john-2

Expert Connect

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Middle East Security, US Foreign Policy


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

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Recent Activity

  • October 30, 2014
    Donetsk, Lugansk Vote for ‘Parliaments’ Violates Truce and Raises Risks, Say Analysts The Russian-backed, miniature, “people’s republics” declared in southeastern Ukraine are preparing to elect parliaments and heads of state on Sunday, a step backed by Moscow to consolidate their
  • October 27, 2014
    Parliament Election is a Defeat for Russia’s Putin: How Will He Respond? If Sunday’s exit poll accurately depicts Ukraine’s parliamentary vote, the outcome is a stunning victory for reform and a pro-European orientation—and a big defeat for Russian President Vladimir
  • September 25, 2014
    Kyiv Feels Little Supported by the West, Hopes to Survive an Unequal Ceasefire With Russia KYIVA junction of war and politics dominates public life in Ukraine as autumn settles firmly in Kyiv. An unequal cease-fire this month in southeast Ukraine
  • September 18, 2014
    Russia’s Assault Threatens Not Just Ukraine, but Europe and Eurasia Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko delivered a stark but necessary message in Washington September 18.  Addressing a Joint Session of Congress, he noted that:
  • September 18, 2014
    Eurasia Center Director John Herbst joins Bloomberg to discuss Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's address before a Joint Session of Congress: 
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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 on stability operations in Central Asia, Ukraine, and Russia. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington PostThe AtlanticThe 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. ​He is married to Nadezda Christoff Herbst. The couple has five children and five grandchildren.