Former U.S. ambassadors Luers and Dobbins, along with Lieutenant General Kearney, all members of The Iran Project, will provide unique insight into the prospects of reaching a diplomatic solution with Iran regarding its nuclear program, especially in this time of renewed negotiations and a belief on the part of the Obama administration that there is still time for a political solution. Drawing from decades of experience working with both Iranian and U.S. officials, The Iran Project recently released the second of three reports, “Weighing Benefits and Costs of International Sanctions Against Iran.” The first report, “Weighing Benefits and Costs of Military Action Against Iran,” was released earlier this fall; the third is anticipated early in 2013. These reports present objective, nonpartisan, fact-based analyses designed to serve as a basis for an informed public discussion and have received prominent coverage. The Iran Project is composed of seven core members and an impressive and unprecedented list of 50 "validators," including military leaders, national security and foreign-policy experts, and former officials, who are working together to bring a nonpartisan perspective to this critical issue.
James Dobbins is the Director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at RAND. Previously, he served as the Bush administration's first Special Envoy for Afghanistan, as well as their representative to the Afghan opposition in the wake of 9/11.
He has also held a variety of senior State Department and White House posts with responsibility for national security, crisis management, and relations with Europe and Latin America. Until June 2001 the Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, he also served as Special Assistant to the President for the Western Hemisphere, Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of State for the Balkans, Ambassador to the European Community, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission in Germany, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.
In recent years he has undertaken crisis management and diplomatic troubleshooting assignments relating to Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo. He also held Senior Fellowships with RAND and with the Council on Foreign Relations, and contributed to books on transatlantic trade and European security.
In recent years Dobbins has been tapped for a number of sensitive diplomatic missions. In 1993 he managed the diplomacy attendant on the disengagement of American forces from Somalia. In 1994, he helped organize the American led multilateral intervention in Haiti. In 1999, on the eve of the Kosovo conflict, he became the administration's senior envoy for the Balkans. Through the Kosovo air campaign he worked to keep the NATO coalition together, negotiated the United Nations Security Council resolution that ended the fighting, and oversaw subsequent American peace implementation. He supervised the civil aspects of peace operations in Kosovo and Bosnia, as he earlier had for Haiti and Somalia, managing American relief and reconstruction efforts in the Balkans in excess of $1 billion per annum.
As the Assistant Secretary for Europe, from 2000 to 2001, Dobbins helped mobilize successful international efforts to oust the Milosevic regime and support a democratic successor. He negotiated an agreement with the European Union establishing arrangements for defense collaboration with NATO, and, in partnership with the European Union, launched the current peace process in Macedonia.
Dobbins is a graduate of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. He spent 3 years as an officer in the U.S. Navy. He is married to Toril Kleivdal, and they have two sons.
Lieutenant General Frank Kearney
(Ret.), Former Deputy Director, Strategic Operational Planning, National Counter-Terrorism Center; Former Deputy Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command
William Luers was elected in 1999 as president of the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA), a center for innovative programs to engage Americans in issues of global concern. UNA-USA's educational and humanitarian campaigns, along with its policy and advocacy programs, allow people to make a global impact at the local level and encourage strong United States leadership in the UN. Prior to joining UNA-USA in February 1999, Ambassador Luers served for 13 years as president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.