Who We Are
Ambassador William H. Luers is the Director of The Iran Project and an adjunct professor at Columbia University. He was President of the United Nations Association of the USA (1999-2009) and President of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC (1986-1999). Prior to his move to New York, Luers had a 31 year career in the Foreign Service. He served as US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1983-1986) and Venezuela (1978-1982), and held numerous posts in Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union, and in the Department of State. Luers has been an adjunct at several universities in addition to Columbia. He was also the Director’s Visitor at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Studies in 1982-1983. Born in Springfield, Illinois, Luers received his B.A. from Hamilton College and his M.A. from Columbia University following four years in the United States Navy. He is an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He speaks Spanish, Russian and Italian.
Iris Bieri is Deputy Director of The Iran Project. She previously worked as Vice President for Program for Network 20/20 a foreign policy organization in New York; a research associate at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point; and Program Coordinator for the Conflict Resolution Program at the American Friends Service Committee in New York, from 2006-2009. She also worked for Amnesty International in Santiago, Chile, in 2004. Bieri has a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), specializing in International Security Policy, Conflict Resolution and the Persian Gulf. She is fluent in Spanish and has basic proficiency in Persian.
Stephen B. Heintz is President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. He has held top leadership positions in both the nonprofit and public sectors. Prior to joining RBF in 2001, Heintz was Founding President of Demos: A Network for Ideas & Action and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the EastWest Institute (EWI), where he worked on issues of economic reform, civil society development, and international security based in Prague, Czech Republic. Earlier he developed an extensive track record as a policy analyst and cabinet official in the State of Connecticut, where he served as Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development and Commissioner of the Department of Income Maintenance (Social Welfare). He is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale University.
Jessica Tuchman Mathews is a distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she served as President for 18 years. She was a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations from 1993 to 1997 as director of the Council’s Washington program. In 1993, she also served as Deputy to the Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs at the State Department. Prior to that, Mathews was Founding Vice President and Director of Research of the World Resources Institute. She also served as director of the Office of Global Issues of the National Security Council, where she worked on issues including nuclear proliferation, conventional arms sales policy, chemical and biological warfare, and human rights. She earned her BS from Radcliffe College and holds a PhD from the California Institute of Technology.
Ambassador William G. Miller is a Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He has led a distinguished career in the U.S. Foreign Service, U.S. Senate staff, academia, foundations, and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining the Wilson Center, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine from 1993 to 1998. Ambassador Miller had previously served as political officer for the U.S. Embassy in Tehran from 1962 to 1964 as well as the U.S. Consulate in Isfahan, Iran from 1959 to 1962. He spent 14 years on Capitol Hill, where he served as the staff director for three different Senate committees, including the Select Committee on Intelligence. Ambassador Miller has taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, and Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. He has published numerous articles on U.S.-Soviet and U.S.-Iran relations, and served as President of the American Committee on U.S.-Soviet Relations.
Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering holds the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service. In a diplomatic career spanning five decades, he was U.S. ambassador to Israel, the Russian Federation, India, El Salvador, Nigeria, and Jordan. From 1989 to 1992, he was Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, and he then served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Earlier in his career, he was Special Assistant to Secretaries of State William P. Rogers and Henry Kissinger. He also served in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves.
Dr. Paul Pillar retired in 2005 from a 28-year career in the U.S. intelligence community, most recently serving as National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia. Earlier he served in analytical and managerial positions, including as chief of analytic units at the CIA covering portions of the Near East, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia. He has also headed the Assessments and Information Group of the DCI Counterterrorist Center, and from 1997 to 1999 was deputy chief of the center. He was a Federal Executive Fellow at the Brookings Institution in 1999-2000. Dr. Pillar is a retired officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and served on active duty in 1971-1973, and was a visiting professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University from 2005 to 2012.
Jim Walsh is an expert in international security and a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program (SSP). He is an expert on nuclear proliferation and is one of a handful of Americans who has been to both Iran and North Korea for discussions with government officials about nuclear issues. Dr. Walsh has testified before the United States Senate on the issue of nuclear terrorism and on Iran’s nuclear program, and his comments and analysis have appeared in numerous national and international media outlets.
Frank G. Wisner is an International Affairs Advisor at Squire Patton Boggs. A career diplomat with the personal rank of Career Ambassador, he previously served as Ambassador to India from 1994-1997. Additionally, he held the positions of Ambassador to Zambia (1979-82), Egypt (1986-91), and the Philippines (1991-1992). Mr. Wisner has served in a number of positions in the U.S. government, including Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (1993-94), Undersecretary of State for International Security Affairs (1992-93), Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs (1982-86), and Deputy Executive Secretary of the Department of State (1977). During the course of his career, Frank Wisner served in the Middle East and South and East Asia.