The Mortara Center and The Institute for the Study of Diplomacy hosted Ambassador Bill Luers and Paul Pillar of The Iran Project, and Robin Wright of the U.S. Institute of Peace to discuss the current status of negotiations with Iran and the prospects for their success.
Ambassador Bill Luers
Ambassador William H. Luers served as U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1983-1986) and Venezuela (1978-1982) and held numerous diplomatic posts, including in Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union. Since 2002, Amb. Luers has been the Director of and led the work of The Iran Project. He has known personally the past four Iranian Foreign Ministers and spent much of the past 12 years in direct contact with Iranian officials and academics. Luers was president of the The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1986-1999) and president of the United Nations Association (1999-2009). Luers is Adjunct Professor at Columbia University and has been a visiting lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, at George Washington University, and the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Professor Pillar retired in 2005 from a 28-year career in the U.S. intelligence community, in which his last position was National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia. Earlier he served in a variety of analytical and managerial positions, including as chief of analytic units at the CIA covering portions of the Near East, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia. Professor Pillar also served in the National Intelligence Council as one of the original members of its Analytic Group. He has been Executive Assistant to CIA's Deputy Director for Intelligence and Executive Assistant to Director of Central Intelligence William Webster. He has also headed the Assessments and Information Group of the DCI Counterterrorist Center, and from 1997 to 1999 was deputy chief of the center. He was a Federal Executive Fellow at the Brookings Institution in 1999-2000. Professor Pillar is a retired officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and served on active duty in 1971-1973, including a tour of duty in Vietnam.
Robin Wright is a journalist, author and joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She has reported from more than 140 countries on six continents for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Sunday Times, and CBS News. She has also written for The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, TIME, Foreign Affairs and others. She won the National Magazine Award for The New Yorker. Her Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion across the Islamic World won the 2012 Overseas Press Club award for best book on international affairs. Her eight other books include The Iran Primer: Power, Politics and U.S. Policy and The Islamists are Coming: Who They Really Are. She won the U.N. Correspondents Association Gold Medal for coverage of foreign affairs, the Overseas Press Club Award for "best reporting in any medium requiring exceptional courage and initiative," and the National Press Club Award for best diplomatic reporting. The American Academy of Diplomacy selected her as the journalist of the year.