December 5, 2017

Year One: The Trump Administration and the Middle East

Daniel Benaim
Center for American Progress

President Donald Trump’s first foreign trip was to the Middle East, where he addressed leaders of Muslim nations in Saudi Arabia and then flew to Israel to discuss resumption of peace talks. Secretaries Tillerson and Mattis and special envoy Jared Kushner have since gone to the region several times. A year after Trump’s election, are we closer to peace? Our December speaker, a former Washington official, will offer his insights.

Daniel Benaim is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, researching U.S. policy in the Middle East, as well as a visiting lecturer at New York University. Previously, he served as a Middle East policy adviser and foreign policy speechwriter at the White House, the Department of State, and the U.S. Senate.

Until June 2015, he was foreign policy speechwriter and Middle East adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden, traveling with the vice president to 25 countries. Before that, he wrote speeches for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Deputy Secretaries Bill Burns and Tom Nides and served as a member of Secretary Clinton’s policy planning staff covering Egypt. Benaim also has been a professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chief speechwriter to former Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), and a detailee to the National Security Council staff.

Benaim’s writings have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, and The New Republic. He received his M.A. in law and diplomacy from The Fletcher School and his B.A. in English literature from Yale University. He is a term member and former International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.