Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is President of Gryphon Partners, a global advisory firm based in Washington, DC and author of The Envoy. He has been involved with US policy makers at the White House, State Department and Pentagon since the mid-1980s. In 2001, President George W. Bush asked Amb. Khalilzad to head the Bush-Cheney transition team for the Department of Defense and Amb. Khalilzad briefly served as Counselor to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Later he was appointed as US Ambassador to Afghanistan (2003 – 2005), US Ambassador to Iraq (2005 – 2007), and US Permanent Representative to the United Nations (2007 – 2009).

Prior to entering government service, Amb. Khalilzad worked as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs from 1979 to 1989. During that time, he worked closely with Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Carter Administration’s architect of the policy supporting the mujahideen resistance to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. In 1984, Amb. Khalilzad accepted a one-year Council on Foreign Relations fellowship to join the State Department, where he was an advisor to the Near East and South Asia Bureau headed by Richard W. Murphy. From 1985 to 1989, Amb. Khalilzad served in President Ronald Reagan’s Administration as a senior State Department official advising on the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the Iran–Iraq War. Between 1993 and 2000, Amb. Khalilzad was the Director of the Strategy, Doctrine, and Force Structure at the RAND Corporation. During this time, he helped found RAND’s Center for Middle East Public Policy as well as “Strategic Appraisal,” a periodic RAND publication.



Amb. Khalilzad sits on the boards of the National Endowment for Democracy, America Abroad Media, the Atlantic Council, the RAND Corporation’s Middle East Studies Center, the American University of Iraq in Suleymania, and the American University of Afghanistan. He is a counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Additionally he is the founder of the Zalmay Khalilzad Chair on Afghanistan for the Atlantic Council’s “Afghanistan Rising: Sustaining Success in Afghanistan” Initiative.

He earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the American University of Beirut, as well as a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.


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