Tamara Cofman Wittes leaves Middle East post at State Department for Brookings

The Brookings Institution announced Wednesday that Tamara Cofman Wittes, former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, will re-join the think tank as the director of its Saban Center for Middle East Policy effective March 1.

According to the State Department Web site, Wittes coordinated policy on democracy and human rights and oversaw the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). She also served as the department’s deputy special coordinator for Middle East transitions.

Before joining the State Department in November 2009, Wittes was a scholar at Brookings for six years, including time at the Saban Center.

She is married to Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow also at Brookings.

Ken Pollack, who has been the director of the Saban Center since September 2009, when founding director Martin Indyk became vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings, will return to his research role within the Saban Center.

The Saban Center for Middle East Policy was founded in May 2002 with the support of Israeli-American media mogul Haim Saban.

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He blogs and hosts a podcast at governmentality.net and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.

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