April 14, 2014

Taleen Ananian, 202.778.4993

WASHINGTON – The Atlantic Council today named John E. Herbst, a former ambassador to Ukraine and Uzbekistan, as director of its Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, effective May 12. In that role, Herbst will oversee the Atlantic Council’s response to rising tensions with Russia over Ukraine as well as other key economic, security, and political issues across the region, including oversight of the annual Atlantic Council Energy and Economic Summit in Istanbul on November 20-21.

“We are delighted that we can call upon one of America’s most accomplished and creative diplomats at this moment of historic challenge,” said Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council. “John brings with him more than three decades of experience in wrestling with some of the world’s most difficult regions and issues.”

A career foreign service officer, Herbst served as the US ambassador to Kiev from 2003 to 2006 and to Tashkent  from 2000 to 2003. During his tenure in Ukraine, he worked to deepen US-Ukrainian relations, to ensure the conduct of a fair Ukrainian presidential election, and to prevent violence during the Orange Revolution. In Uzbekistan, he played a key role in establishing a US military base to facilitate operations in Afghanistan.

At other points of his career at the State Department, Herbst served as consul general in Jerusalem, the US envoy to Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, principal deputy to the ambassador-at-large for the Newly Independent States, director of the Office of Independent States and Commonwealth Affairs, and director of regional affairs in the US Department of State’s Near East Bureau. He was posted to the US Embassies in Israel, the Soviet Union, and Saudi Arabia. Most recently, he has served as director of the Center for Complex Operations at National Defense University. Read his full bio.

Ambassador Herbst will reinforce a strong team of Atlantic Council policy specialists working on Ukraine-related issues, including former National Security Council Senior Director for European Affairs Damon Wilson, former Freedom House CEO Adrian Karatnycky, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe Ian Brzezinski, and others. David Koranyi, former chief foreign policy and national security advisor to the prime minister of Hungary, will continue to play a key leadership role as deputy director of the Patriciu Eurasia Center.

Ambassador Herbst replaces Ross Wilson, former ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan, who stepped down as center director in March. Wilson will continue as a senior fellow, working on Turkey and other regional issues.

Follow the Eurasia Center on Twitter at @ACEurasia.

To arrange an interview with Ambassador Herbst, or for more information about the Eurasia Center, please contact us at


The Atlantic Council is a nonpartisan organization that promotes constructive US leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting today’s global challenges. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @AtlanticCouncil

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