Ambassador Gnehm is Kuwait Professor of Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs at The George Washington University, as well as a member of the Middle East faculty and Director of the Middle East Policy Forum. In his 36 years prior to retirement in 2004, he served in the United States Foreign Service as Ambassador to Jordan, Kuwait, and Australia, and, from 1991 to 2004, as Deputy Permanent Representative to the U.N. He was Director-General of the Foreign Service and Director of Personnel of the Department of State. While Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (1987–1989), he had responsibility for all U.S. military programs from Morocco to Bangladesh. He was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula. His earlier assignments posted him in Vietnam, Nepal, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Tunisia, and Lebanon. In addition to teaching, Ambassador Gnehm sits on the Board of Directors of American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), for which he has been both Chairman of the Board and Acting President. Among the other boards in which he has participated are those of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, the Board of Oversight of the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center in Washington, and the Senior Living Foundation. He is a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Middle East Institute, DACOR (Diplomat and Consular Officers Retired), the American Foreign Service Association, the American Philatelic Society, and the Fourth Evangelical Presbyterian Church, where he served six years as an elder. Ambassador Gnehm earned a B.A. in international affairs in 1966 and an M.A. in 1968 from The George Washington University. He also attended the American University in Cairo (1966–1967) through a postgraduate Rotary International Fellowship.
Abdelelah Mohammad Al Khatib has held multiple senior positions in both the public and private sectors and has contributed to the Jordanian and international communities throughout his career. Having been Jordan’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities from 1995 to 1996, he later served twice as Foreign Minister of Jordan (1998–2002 and 2005–2007). In 2010, he received an appointment as Chairman of the Economic and Social Council and in 2012 became Chairman of the Independent Election Commission. He was a member of the Upper House of Parliament (The Senate) for three terms between 2010 and 2016, during which he was elected consecutively as head of the Economic and Financial Committee, the Committee for Public Freedoms and Citizens Rights, and the Arab and International Affairs Committee. On the international stage, in 2011, he acted as Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations to Libya. He was General Manager and then Chairman of the Board of the Jordan Cement Company and also General Manager of Al Daman for Investment. He also sat on the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Jordan. An active contributor to the work of civil society, Mr. Al-Khatib was elected Chairman of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature and serves as a member of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation Board of Trustees. He holds an M.A. in international communications from American University in Washington, D.C., an M.A in international economics and development from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A in political science from Pantios University, Athens. Recently he has lectured at the Paris School of International Affairs at Science Po in Paris.
S. Thomas Parker is Professor of History and Director of the Archaeological Laboratory and Repository at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA and is a specialist in the history and archaeology of the Roman Levant. Prof. Parker has directed several major archaeological field projects in Jordan, including excavations at Petra, Aqaba, and the Roman legionary fortress at el-Lejjun, east of the Dead Sea. Among his numerous articles and books are Romans and Saracens: A History of the Arabian Frontier (1986), The Roman Frontier in Central Jordan: Final Report on the Limes Arabicus Project, 1980–1989 (2006), and The Roman Aqaba Project Final Report, Vol. 1: The Regional Environment and the Regional Survey (2014). Prof. Parker has brought hundreds of students to Jordan for fieldwork experience, and since then, many have continued to be involved in Jordanian heritage work.
Anne Aarnes is a retired senior Foreign Service officer who spent her career at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Having held senior management positions both in Washington and overseas, she retired in 2015 with the rank of Career Minister. Ms. Aarnes served as USAID Director in Jordan, Pakistan, and Central Asia. In Washington, she was Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Middle East and Asia Bureaus and for the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs. She also served on the faculty of the National War College. Postings earlier in her career included Egypt, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Pakistan, and Washington. Ms. Aarnes earned a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.A. from The George Washington University.
David Nickols is a professional engineer and Director of ITPEnergised, a renewable energy consultancy based in the U.K. With almost 40 years of experience in engineering, management, project delivery, finance, and corporate governance in many different countries, he serves as independent director on the boards of several companies, including two regional engineering firms headquartered in Amman. He has been the divisional President for Europe, Middle East, and Africa for two major U.S.-based engineering companies. A graduate of the University of Cambridge with an M.A. in engineering (Downing College, 1981), he has been engaged in the Middle East and North Africa region since first participating in an engineering project in Baghdad during the 1980s.
Dr. Pearce Paul Creasman
Executive Director since 2020
Dr. Pearce Paul Creasman became executive director in February 2020. Dr. Creasman came from the University of Arizona, where he was a professor and curator since 2009, focusing on the heritage, archaeology, and environment of the Middle East and North Africa. Starting in 2012, he served as director of the University of Arizona’s Egyptian Expedition. Having worked in several countries in the region, his most recent archaeological project is directing the excavations at the pyramids and royal necropolis of Nuri, Sudan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dr. Creasman’ s degrees include a Ph.D. and M.A. in anthropology/nautical archaeology from Texas A&M University and a B.A. from the University of Maine.