School of International Affairs makes prestigious new hire

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – On November 1, 2021, Ambassador Gordon Gray, a career diplomat whose last post in government was Deputy Commandant at the National War College, officially joined the Penn State School of International Affairs (SIA) as a new professor of practice. He brings a wealth of experience to SIA as a former U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia from 2009-2012 and as a Senior Adviser to the Ambassador in Iraq, where he focused on governance and infrastructure in the southern provinces. He will start teaching in January 2022.

Ambassador Gray serves on the Board of Directors of the Tunisian-American Young Professionals Association and the Advisory Council of the Middle East Institute’s North Africa and Sahel program. He is also a member of the American Foreign Service Association and the American Academy of Diplomacy.

Before joining the faculty at Penn State, he served as the Chief Operating Officer at the Center for American Progress (CAP) and as Executive Vice President at the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce. He is currently a non-resident fellow at CAP and at Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. 

Ambassador Gray was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2005-2008, where his responsibilities included the promotion of U.S. interests in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa and oversight of the bureau’s Regional Affairs office. His other foreign assignments included Egypt – where he served as Deputy Chief of Mission from 2002-2005 – Canada, Jordan, Pakistan, and Morocco—where he began his career as a Peace Corps volunteer.

“We are excited to have Ambassador Gray joining SIA. His long-term engagement in North Africa, including serving as U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia at the start of the Arab Spring, offers our students a unique learning opportunity,” said Dr. Elizabeth Ransom, Interim Director of the School of International Affairs. “There is no doubt that his breadth of experience will be invaluable to the students at SIA.”

“I hope that students who take my courses develop a strong, analytical framework that they can draw on throughout their careers. My goal is not simply to share knowledge and experiences but, more importantly, to help students learn to ask the right questions,” said Ambassador Gray.

He received the Presidential Meritorious Service award—twice. The Yale and Columbia graduate also received an honorary M.S. from The National Defense University. Since he enjoyed teaching at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service (Spring 2020) and at the National War College (2012-2015), he is eagerly looking forward to returning to the classroom. 

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