Tamara Cofman Wittes is a senior fellow and the director of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. Tamara served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from November of 2009 to January 2012, coordinating U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in the Middle East for the State Department. Tamara also oversaw the Middle East Partnership Initiative and served as deputy special coordinator for Middle East transitions. She was central to organizing the U.S. government's response to the Arab awakening.
Before joining the State Department, Tamara was a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, where she directed the Middle East Democracy and Development (MEDD) Project. In that capacity, Tamara conducted research into political and economic reform in the Middle East region as well as U.S. efforts to promote democracy there. Before joining the Center in December 2003, Tamara served as Middle East specialist at the U.S. Institute of Peace and previously as director of programs at the Middle East Institute in Washington. She also taught courses in international relations and security studies at Georgetown University. Tamara was one of the first recipients of the Rabin-Peres Peace Award, established by President Bill Clinton in 1997.