(This article was originally published on GW Today.)
The George Washington University announced Monday that Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety II will serve as the new dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs. Dr. Brigety is the U.S. representative to the African Union and the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
“Ambassador Brigety is an outstanding leader whose vision and experience will raise the Elliott School’s already prominent reputation in international affairs education, policy and research,” President Steven Knapp said. “I look forward to working with him on strengthening our existing programs and research, as well as exploring new opportunities that will enhance our students’ GW experience.”
Dr. Brigety will succeed Dean Michael E. Brown, who brought global recognition to the school during 10 years of leadership. Dr. Brown announced his plans to step down from his position last October.
Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Brigety oversaw southern African and regional security affairs as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of African Affairs. He also served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, where he supervised U.S. refugee programs in Africa, managed U.S. humanitarian diplomacy and developed international migration policy.
“I believe young people come to the Elliott School because they want to engage with the hardest challenges of our time. Our job is to prepare them both intellectually and practically to make the world a better place, and that’s what I’m excited to do in this new position,” Dr. Brigety said.
Dr. Brigety has held positions at the Center for American Progress and U.S. Agency for International Development. He was a senior advisor for development and security to the U.S. Central Command Assessment team in Washington and in Doha, Qatar.
His background is rooted in scholarship as well as public service. He taught government and politics at George Mason University and at the School of International Service at American University between 2003 and 2009. He also conducted research missions in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch.
“I’ve spent time doing work on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan, East Africa and the Caribbean, where I used my intellectual preparation to be an effective practitioner in the field. This has helped me understand how important it is to prepare young people both intellectually and practically to engage in these problems,” he said.
Dr. Brigety began his career as an active duty U.S. naval officer with several staff positions in the Pentagon and in fleet support units. He earned a B.S. with merit in political science at the U.S. Naval Academy and was designated a Distinguished Midshipman Graduate. Dr. Brigety also holds an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Cambridge.
“The committee was impressed with Dr. Brigety’s bold vision, enthusiasm and passion for the school, and his deep understanding of international affairs, from both the practitioner and academic sides,” said Jennifer Brinkerhoff, professor of public administration and international affairs and chair of the search committee that selected the new dean.
Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Susan Sell, another member of the search committee, added that she believes Dr. Brigety “will bring fresh energy and dynamism to the Elliott School.”
“Students of international affairs especially will be excited about his policy experience as U.S. ambassador to the African Union, and his work on humanitarian diplomacy, refugees and international migration,” she said. “He has a compelling vision that will build on an already excellent foundation, and I will look forward to supporting Dean Brigety in his mission to take the Elliott School to the next level.”