Wendy Chamberlin

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Wendy Chamberlin was a career U.S. Foreign Service Officer, who has been President of the Middle East Institute since March 2007. Ron Suskind wrotr, in his book The Way of the World, that her taking the MEI post was yet another shift in a career that had gone from the White House to refugee camps.

Chamberlin is a rare bird in this city--a lone flier, whom others are compelled to notice. In the past six years she's had about as good a tour as anyone for seeing how the world works. And the journey has changed her.

It's not that the players in Washington can't evolve. They can. But in this partisan era, participants in the great public debates often profit by staying put, safely on the side of one assembled team, even when their hearts may be ready to stray. Wendy--having traveled such a unique and wide-ranging path--is all but impossible for any team to claim. She's free to wander.

Which is what she's doing today, her third day as head of the Middle east Institute. It's an old-guard nongovernmental organization built by the "wise men" of the 1940s--many of them patricians--who guided America through World War II and gave the world the Marshall Plan...[1]

From 2004 to 2006, she was Deputy High Commissioner for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2004-2006).

She was the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan at the time of the 9-11 Attacks and Afghanistan War (2001-), coming from a position as Deputy in the Bureau of International Counter-Narcotics and Law Programs of the U.S. Department of State. (1999-2001). Subsequently, from 2002 to 2004, she civilian reconstruction programs in Iraq and Afghanistan as Assistant Administrator of the Asia/Near East Division of the Agency for International Development (AID).

From 1999 to 2001,, she was Assistant Administrator in the Asia-Near East Bureau for the Agency for International Development, having been U.S. Ambassador to Laos for three years before that.

She was Director of Global Affairs and Counter-Terrorism on the National Security Council staff (1991-1993).


She commented, in a November 2007 interview, that President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf needed to hear the messages that it was time for him to leave: "They're coming primarily from his people, all of his people, but other leaders around the world. I'm very glad that President Bush called him, called him directly, and gave him the right message. You can't be both president and chief of the army."[2]

9/11 period

Immediately after the attack, she called on President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf, and offered the hope that Pakistan would cooperate in bringing the terrorists to justice. He agreed, but also reminded her of past broken promises by the U.S. She told him it would be different this time. Meanwhile, lieutenant general Mahmood Ahmed, director of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, who happened to be visiting Washington, was given a specific list of demands by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Musharraf spoke by telephone with Mahmood, and then again to Chamberlin; he had not expected "either you are with us or against us".[3]


  1. Ron Suskind (2007), The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism, Harper, ISBN 0061430625
  2. Tavis Smiley (7 November 2007), Wendy Chamberlin interview, Public Broadcasting Service
  3. Hassan Abbas (2005), 'Pakistan's Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army, and America's War on Terror, M.E. Sharpe, ISBN 0765614979, pp. 218-219