Ian Lesser is vice president at The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and a member of GMF’s executive team, managing programs across the organization. He serves as executive director of the Brussels office of GMF, and leads GMF’s work on the Mediterranean, Turkey, and the wider Atlantic. He also served as interim president of GMF from September-December 2021.
Prior to joining GMF, Dr. Lesser was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and vice president and director of studies at the Pacific Council on International Policy. He came to the Pacific Council from the RAND Corporation, where he spent over a decade as a senior analyst and research manager specializing in strategic studies. From 1994-95, he was a member of the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State, responsible for Turkey, Southern Europe, North Africa, and the multilateral track of the Middle East peace process.
A frequent commentator for international media, he has written extensively on foreign and security policy issues. Dr. Lesser was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, the London School of Economics, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and received his doctorate from Oxford University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. He serves on the advisory boards of the Delphi Economic Forum, Atlantic Dialogues, the NATO Defense College Foundation, and Turkish Policy Quarterly, and has been a senior fellow of the Onassis Foundation in Athens and the Luso-American Foundation in Lisbon.