As part of the Global Leaders conversation series, Ambassador Frederic C. Hof, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Mona Yacoubian of the Stimson Center, participated in a conversation at NYU Washington, DC on January 8, 2014. The series features Alon Ben-Meir, professor of international relations, journalist, and author, who hosts leaders from around the world in conversations that probe critical global issues and explore the policies designed to address them. The Global Leaders series is coordinated by NYU-SCPS Center for Global Affairs.
Frederic C. Hof is a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.
On March 28, 2012 President Obama conferred on Hof the rank of ambassador in connection with his new duties as special advisor for transition in Syria. Hof was previously the special coordinator for regional affairs in the US Department of State's Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, where he advised Special Envoy George Mitchell on the full range of Arab-Israeli peace issues falling under his purview and focusing on Syria-Israel and Israel-Lebanon matters. He joined the State Department in 2009 after serving as president and CEO of AALC, limited company, an international business consulting and project finance firm formerly known as Armitage Associates LC.
Hof's professional life has focused largely on the Middle East. In 2001 he directed the Jerusalem field operations of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee headed by former US Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and was the lead drafter of the Committee's 2001 report. In 1983, as a US Army officer, he helped draft the "Long Commission" report, which investigated the October 1983 bombing of the US Marine headquarters at Beirut International Airport. Both reports drew considerable international praise for fairness and integrity.
A 1969 graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Hof began his professional career as an Army officer. He is a Vietnam veteran and served as a US Army Middle East foreign area officer, studying Arabic at the Foreign Service Institute in Tunisia and receiving a master's degree from the Naval Postgraduate School. He served as US Army attaché in Beirut, Lebanon and later in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as director for Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestinian Affairs.
Hof has written extensively on Arab-Israeli issues. He is the author of Galilee Divided: The Israel-Lebanon Frontier, 1916-1984 (Westview Press, 1985); Line of Battle, Border of Peace? The Line of June 4, 1967 (Middle East Insight, 1999); and Beyond the Boundary: Lebanon, Israel and the Challenge of Change (Middle East Insight, 2000). He has also written many articles on Jordan Valley water issues. His writing on the Israel-Syria, Israel-Lebanon and (by virtue of his work on the "Mitchell Committee") Israel-Palestinian tracks of the Middle East peace process has contributed positively to the body of literature promoting Arab-Israeli peace.
His awards include the Purple Heart, the Department of State Superior Honor Award, the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, and the Defense Superior Service Medal. He resides in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife, Brenda.
Mona Yacoubian is senior advisor for Stimson's Middle East program. Her work focuses on the Arab Uprisings, with a particular concentration on Syria. She is the director of "Pathways to Progress: Peace, Prosperity and Change in the Middle East," a joint initiative with the George C. Marshall Foundation that explores the dynamics propelling the Arab revolts and seeks innovative policy solutions that will ensure that the region embarks on a path towards peace and prosperity. Yacoubian also co-directs the Stimson-US Institute of Peace Lebanon Working Group.
Yacoubian joined the Stimson Center in 2011, having previously served as a special advisor and senior program officer on the Middle East at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where her work focused on Lebanon and Syria as well as broader issues related to democratization in the Arab world. She has worked as a consultant on the Middle East for several years. From 1990-1997, she served as the North Africa analyst at the U.S. Department of State.
Yacoubian is a frequent commentator on the Arab world and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Syria (1985-86) and held an International Affairs Fellowship with the Council on Foreign Relations. Yacoubian has an MPA from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and a BA from Duke University.
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is an expert on Middle East politics and affairs, specializing in peace negotiations between Israel and Arab states. For the past seventeen years, Dr. Ben-Meir has been directly involved in various negotiations between Israel and its neighboring countries and has operated as a liaison between top Arab and Israeli officials. Dr. Ben-Meir serves as senior fellow at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs where he has taught courses on the Middle East and international negotiations. Dr. Ben-Meir hosts “Global Leaders: Conversations with Alon Ben-Meir”, a speaking series of debates and conversations with top policy-makers from around the world held each semester at NYU. He also regularly briefs at the US State Department for the International Visitors Program.
Dr. Ben-Meir writes weekly articles, including a syndicated column in the Jerusalem Post. His articles have appeared in scores of newspapers, magazines and websites including the Middle East Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Le Monde, American Chronicle, the Political Quarterly, Israel Policy Forum, Gulf Times, the Harvard Review, and the World Policy Journal. He makes regular television and radio appearances, and has been featured on networks such as ABC, Al Jazeera (English and Arabic), Al Arabiya, CNN, FOX, NPR, PBS and Russia Today.
He has authored seven books related to Middle East policy and is currently working on a new book about the psychological dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Dr. Ben-Meir holds a masters degree in philosophy and a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University. He is fluent in English, Arabic, and Hebrew.