U.S. ambassador to African Union named new dean of Elliott School

The U.S. representative to the African Union will be the new dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, the University announced Monday.

Reuben E. Brigety II will take the helm from former long-serving dean Michael Brown, who stepped down from the post at the end of June.

Brigety is also the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. He previously served as a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of African Affairs and in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, according to a release. In those positions, he oversaw southern African and regional security affairs as well as U.S. refugee programs in Africa, developed international migration policies and managed humanitarian diplomacy.

Brigety cited his past field work in regions from the Middle East to the Caribbean as showing that he can combine his scholarly work with practical experience, a combination experts have said will be essential for the new dean to have.

“I believe young people come to the Elliott School because they want to engage with the hardest challenges of our time. Our job is to prepare them both intellectually and practically to make the world a better place, and that’s what I’m excited to do in this new position,” Brigety said in a statement.

Brigety will begin on Oct. 1, and interim dean Hugh Agnew will continue serve in the position through the transition.

Brigety was chosen as one of three top candidates by a search committee made up of Elliott School faculty and students before being selected by University President Steven Knapp and Provost Lerman this summer.

“Ambassador Brigety is an outstanding leader whose vision and experience will raise the Elliott School’s already prominent reputation in international affairs education, policy and research,” Knapp said in a release. “I look forward to working with him on strengthening our existing programs and research, as well as exploring new opportunities that will enhance our students’ GW experience.”

The former U.S. navy officer has previously taught government and politics at George Mason University and peer school American University and conducted research missions in Iraq and Afghanistan for the Human Rights Watch. He has also worked at the Center for American Progress, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Central Command Assessment team in D.C. and in Doha, Qatar.

Brigety is the 10th black official named to a top post at GW since 2010.

He will lead one of the top-ranked international affairs schools in the country, often described as the “crown jewel” of GW’s schools. Under Brown’s 10-year tenure, the school doubled its number of research institutes and brought on about 20 new faculty members, and has consistently been highly ranked by publications such as Foreign Affairs magazine.

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