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Flynt Leverett

Flynt Leverett

Professor of International Affairs and Affiliate Law Faculty

(814) 867-2238

Ph.D., Princeton University
M.A., Princeton University
B.A., B.M., Texas Christian University

An expert on the Middle East, international political economy, and Chinese foreign policy, Flynt Leverett is part of the founding faculty for Penn State's School of International Affairs, faculty affiliate in Penn State’s School of Law and Asian Studies Program, and visiting scholar at Peking University's School of International Studies. He is a regular contributor to The World Financial Review and, with his wife and frequent co-author, Hillary Mann Leverett, writes, a prominent forum for realist analysis on Iran and the Middle East.

From 1992 to 2003, Prof. Leverett had a distinguished career in the U.S. Government. He served nine years as senior Middle East analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. On the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, he earned a Superior Honor Award for his contributions to forming an international coalition against al-Qa’ida after the 9/11 attacks and to diplomatic efforts with Libya that led to the normalization of U.S.-Libyan relations after years of estrangement. In 2002, he went to the White House to serve as the National Security Council's senior director for Middle East affairs; he left government service in 2003 because of disagreements over Middle East policy and the conduct of the war on terror.

Prof. Leverett has written extensively on the international relations, politics, and political economy of the Middle East and on U.S. Middle East policy. His latest book, Going to Tehran: Why America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran (2013), is now in paperback, with a new Afterword.  Before publication, Going to Tehran was excerpted in Harper's and highlighted by Foreign Policy as a “Book to Read in 2013.” It was also the launch point for a Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs symposium on “The U.S.-Iranian Relationship and the Future of International Order.” While controversial for many U.S. policy elites, Going to Tehran has been lauded by leading public intellectuals like Andrew Bacevich, Noam Chomsky, and Glenn Greenwald.  Outside the United States, Going to Tehran was recommended by the Indian Council on Global Relations and will soon appear in Chinese. Prof. Leverett's first book, Inheriting Syria: Bashar's Trial by Fire (2005), was a Foreign Affairs bestseller and remains on Foreign Affairs' “What to Read on Syrian Politics” list. He also writes about global energy affairs and the implications of China's rise.    

Prof. Leverett has been a visiting professor at MIT and Yale and given presentations at top universities around the world, including Beijing (Peking University), Cambridge, Chicago, Georgetown, Harvard Law School, Johns Hopkins SAIS, Maryland, MIT, NYU, Tehran, Toronto, and Yale. He has been interviewed on major news and public affairs programs, including Al Jazeera (Arabic and English), BBC's Doha Debates and HARDtalk, the University of California's Conversations with History, CCTV, Charlie Rose, C-Span's Book TV and Washington Journal, NHK's Close Up Gendai, PBS Newshour, Russia Today's CrossTalk, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He was featured in the BBC/PBS documentary, Israel and the Arabs: The Elusive Peace (2005) and in PBS Frontline's Showdown With Iran (2007). His articles and op-eds appear regularly in high-profile outlets, including The New York TimesPolitico, and The National Interest

Prof. Leverett has testified before congressional committees and addressed foreign ministries and strategic research institutes in Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. He has been a peer reviewer for the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook and a consultant to the World Economic Forum's “Gulf Cooperation Council and the World 2025” scenarios project. He has spoken at the Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs, the East-West Institute, the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House) and other prestigious venues. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

"The Sino-Russian Hydrocarbon Axis Grows Up," National Interest, May 21, 2014 (with Hillary Mann Leverett)

"America's Iran Policy and the Undermining of International Order," World Financial Review, July-Aug. 2013 (with Hillary Mann Leverett)

Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2013) [with Hillary Mann Leverett]

“The Mad Mullah Myth: The Dangers of Misunderstanding Iran’s Strategy,” Harper’s, November 2012 (with Hillary Mann Leverett)

The Balance of Power, Public Goods, and the Lost Art of Grand Strategy: American Policy toward the Persian Gulf and Rising Asia in the 21st Century," Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs 1:2 (November 2012) [with Hillary Mann Leverett]

“The Dispensable Nation: The People of the Middle East Don't Want the Leadership That President Obama Offered Them on Thursday,” Foreign Policy, May 20, 2011 (with Hillary Mann Leverett)

“United States, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Middle East's New ‘Cold War',” The International Spectator[journal of the Istituto Affari Internazionali in Rome], 45:1 (March 2010) (with Hillary Mann Leverett).

“Another Iranian Revolution? Not Likely,” The New York Times, January 5, 2010 (with Hillary Mann Leverett)

“Consuming Energy:  Rising Powers, the International Energy Agency, and the Global Energy Architecture” inRising States, Rising Institutions:  Challenges for Global Governance, A. Alexandroff and A. Cooper, eds. (Washington, DC:  Brookings Institution Press for the Center for International Governance Innovation, 2010)

“Moving (Slightly) Closer to Iran: China's Shifting Calculus for Managing Its ‘Persian Gulf Dilemma',” The Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, John Hopkins University The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, 2009 (with John Garver and Hillary Mann Leverett)

“Road Map to Nowhere: Obama's Refusal to Dub Israeli Settlements Illegal Is Undermining Any Hope of Middle East Peace,” Foreign Policy, July 1, 2009 (with Hillary Mann Leverett)

“Will Iran Be President Obama's Iraq?,” Politico, June 24, 2009 (with Hillary Mann Leverett and Seyed Mohammad Marandi)

“Ahmadinejad Won. Get Over It.,” Politico, June 16, 2009 (with Hillary Mann Leverett)

“Resource Mercantilism and the Militarization of Resource Management: Rising Asia and the Future of American Primacy in the Persian Gulf,” in Energy and Global Politics: The Militarization of Resource Management, D. Moran and J. Russell, eds., Oxford: Routledge, 2008

Inheriting Syria: Bashar's Trial by Fire, Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2005. [Arabic-language edition: Beirut, Arab Scientific Publishers, 2005]

“Energy, Economics, and the Lost Art of Grand Strategy: American Policy Toward the Persian Gulf and Rising Asia in the 21st Century,” Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs lecture series, April 3, 2012.

“Could U.S. Accept Iran Having Some Nuclear Technology?,” PBS Newshour, February 17, 2012

“Flynt Leverett Discusses the Prospect of Sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran on Al Jazeera,” November 4, 2011

“As Protests Grow, Will Syrians See Reforms or More Bloodshed?,” PBS Newshour, April 8, 2011

Special Guest on Charlie Rose: “Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett on Iran,” March 29, 2010

“Tensions Rise Anew Around Iran's Nuclear, Political Goals,” PBS Newshour, February 11, 2010