< Back

Ellen Laipson

Ellen Laipson is the director of the International Security program at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. She joined GMU from the Stimson Center, where she was president and CEO (2002-2015) and continues as president emeritus and distinguished fellow. Her tenure at Stimson followed a quarter century of government service. She serves on a number of academic and other non-governmental boards related to international security and diplomacy, and is a weekly columnist for worldpoliticsreview.com. Her last post in government was vice chair of the National Intelligence Council (1997-2002). She also worked on the State Department’s policy planning staff, the National Security Council staff and the Congressional Research Service. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she currently serves on the advisory councils of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and the Notre Dame International Security Center, and on the board of the Diplomacy Center Foundation. From 2003 to 2015, she was a member of the board of the Asia Foundation. She was a member of the CIA External Advisory Panel from 2006-2009, President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board from 2009-2013, and on the Secretary of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board 2011-2014. Laipson has an MA from the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University and an AB from Cornell University.

Articles By Ellen Laipson

Untangling the Threads of Iran’s Nuclear Narrative By Ellen Laipson - Oct 16, 2022

It’s been a busy few weeks for Iran-related headlines: domestic turmoil triggered by the death of a Kurdish woman while in custody for allegedly violating rules on wearing the hijab; negotiations to restore the 2015 nuclear deal; and the release of an elderly former UNICEF official after more than six years. All of which has Iran watchers wondering: Will these separate … Continue reading “Untangling the Threads of Iran’s Nuclear Narrative”

Ukraine Conflict Complicates Final Phase of Iran Nuclear Talks By Ellen Laipson - Mar 11, 2022

With the world riveted on the ghastly Russian invasion of Ukraine, the negotiators trying to resurrect the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have been working away in Vienna. Reports over the past two weeks indicate that the final issues are quietly being resolved. Iran’s team has flown back and forth to Tehran to get guidance and to brief the politicians on the technical … Continue reading “Ukraine Conflict Complicates Final Phase of Iran Nuclear Talks”

How to Unlock the Iran Nuclear Stalemate By Ellen Laipson - Dec 25, 2021

There’s no sign of a breakthrough in restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal repudiated by President Donald Trump in 2018. The agreement, which restricted many of Iran’s nuclear enrichment activities, has been slowly undermined by the US withdrawal and Iran’s creeping violations of its provisions. Seven rounds of talks in Vienna under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency have not … Continue reading “How to Unlock the Iran Nuclear Stalemate”

Recalibrated US Policy Offers Little Hope to Hungry Afghans By Ellen Laipson - Dec 17, 2021

Now that the horrific scenes of desperate people trying to flee Kabul have faded from the news cycle, it’s time to consider whether the US has found a new clarity of purpose in dealing with the aftermath of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The escalating humanitarian crisis in the country reflects failures of policy on many levels, certainly not all … Continue reading “Recalibrated US Policy Offers Little Hope to Hungry Afghans”