Wendy Chamberlin has been President of the Middle East Institute since March 2007. A 29-year veteran of the US Foreign Service, she was US Ambassador to the Laos People’s Democratic Republic (1996-1999), and to Pakistan from 2001 to 2002. During her Ambassadorship in Islamabad, she played a key role in Pakistan’s cooperation for the US-led campaign against al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan following the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.
Prior to joining MEI, Chamberlin served as Deputy High Commissioner for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (2004-2007) where she supervised the administration of the UN humanitarian organization with a budget of four billion dollars.
Chamberlin has extensive experience in counter-terrorism, having served as Director of Global Affairs and Counter-Terrorism at the National Security Council (1991-1993) and as Deputy in the Bureau of International Counter-Narcotics and Law Programs (1999-2001).
During her appointment to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) as Assistant Administrator in the Asia-Near East Bureau from 2002 to 2004, Ambassador Chamberlin helped establish civilian reconstruction programs in Iraq and Afghanistan and development assistance programs throughout Middle East and East Asia.
Her other leadership positions at the State Department included Director of Press and Public Affairs for the Near East Bureau (1991-1993), Deputy Chief of Mission in the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur (1993-1996), Arab-Israeli Affairs (1982-1984) and several postings as special assistant to the Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary for Political Affairs and Assistant Secretary for Asian Pacific Affairs. She served abroad in Morocco, Pakistan, Malaysia, Laos, and Zaire (currently the Democratic Republic of Congo).
Her opinion pieces have been published in The Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Foreign Policy and McClatchy newspapers among others. In addition, she is frequently invited to comment on Pakistan and the Middle East on news programs such as The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, FOX, NPR, Voice of America, and Al Jazeera.
Chamberlin also lectures on Pakistan and regional security issues at think tanks, universities and international forums and has testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House of Representatives National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee.
Ambassador Chamberlin is a member of the Trilateral Commission and the American Academy of Diplomacy. She is also a board member of the Hollings Center, and the Global Heritage Diplomatic Advisory Board.
A graduate of Northwestern University, Chamberlin has a MS in Education from Boston University and participated in the Executive Program at Harvard University. She holds an honorary PhD from Northwestern University.