Hillary Mann Leverett

Senior Adjunct Professorial Lecture
School of International Service

  • Prof. Leverett brings 25 years of practical experience in U.S. foreign policy, area studies and conflict resolution to her courses. She served in U.S. embassies across the Middle East, at the United Nations, on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, and on the National Security Council Staff. From 2001-2003, she was one of a handful of U.S. diplomats authorized to negotiate with Iranian officials over Afghanistan and al-Qa’ida. She has taught at Yale and is a visiting scholar at Peking University’s School of International Studies. She has published extensively on the international relations, politics, and political economy of the Middle East and Persian Gulf, and on U.S. policy toward these critical regions. In her controversial new book, Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran, she challenges Western stereotypes of contemporary Iran and argues that America needs to renounce 34 years of failed policy and pursue genuine rapprochement with the Islamic Republic—much like Richard Nixon revolutionized U.S. foreign policy by realigning relations with the People’s Republic of China in the early 1970s.
  • Degrees

    Juris Doctor, Law, Harvard University, Bachelor of Arts, Middle East Studies, Brandeis University, Certificate, Middle East Studies, Arabic, American University, Cairo, Certificate, Middle East Studies, Tel Aviv University


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Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

Politics and international relations of the Muslim world, U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East, Persian Gulf, and Asia, diplomacy, international negotiation, and conflict resolution.


Selected Publications

Books and Monographs
Articles and Chapters
Op-Eds and Opinion Pieces (selected)

Professional Certifications

  • Board member, Conflicts Forum (Beirut), 2012-present (Conflicts Forum aims to open a new relationship between the West and the Muslim world by facilitating dialogue between Islamists in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia and former U.S. and UK officials)
  • Peer reviewer, The International Spectator (journal of the Istituto Affari Internazionali/Institute of International Affairs, Rome), 2011-present  



Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • Fulbright Scholar
  • Thomas J. Watson Fellow

Professional Presentations

  • “Iran and American Foreign Policy:  Where the U.S. Went Wrong,” Technology & Culture Forum at MIT, May 14, 2013 [with Noam Chomsky]
  • Featured speaker, “Rethinking Iran,” World Affairs Council of Northern California (San Francisco), March 25, 2013
  • Presentation on Iran and Afghanistan, Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East (Dubai), March 2013
  • Keynote speaker, “How Precipitous a Decline?  U.S.-Iranian Relations and the Transition from American Primacy,” The U.S.-Iranian Relationship and the Future of International Order (symposium on Going to Tehran:  Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran, sponsored by the Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs), Feb. 15, 2013
  • “Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” book presentation, Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland, Feb. 7, 2013
  • “Going to Tehran:  Prospects for U.S.-Iranian Engagement,” book presentation, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, Jan. 17, 2013
  • Book Discussion on Going to Tehran, East-West Institute, Jan. 15, 2013 (re-broadcast on C-Span)
  • Featured speaker, “Current and Future Sanctions on Iran:  Their Impact and Limits,” Iran, the GCC and the Arabian Peninsula (symposium), Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (Abu Dhabi), Dec. 16, 2012
  • Featured speaker, “U.S. and Arab Strategies toward Iran,” Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference (National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations), Washington, Oct. 2012
  • Featured speaker, “Iran, the United States, and the Middle East’s Changing Balance of Power,” Yale University, April 20, 2011 (video/audio here)    

Media Appearances

Work In Progress

  • “America’s Iran Policy and the Undermining of International Order,” The World Financial Review, July-August 2013, forthcoming.
  • “How Precipitous a Decline?  U.S.-Iranian Relations and the Transition from American Primacy,” Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs, 2:2 (forthcoming 2013) [part of a symposium on Going to Tehran:  Why the United States Must to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran]
  • “A Strategy Tested:  Iranian Foreign Policy and the Arab Awakening” in Mahandra Gaur, ed., Studies in Iran (New Delhi:  Foreign Policy Research Centre, forthcoming 2013) [with Flynt Leverett]