photo: Ambassador Edward W. "Skip" Gnehm

Edward W. Gnehm, Jr.

Kuwait Professor of Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs; Director, Middle East Policy Forum
Suite 512
Address: Elliott School of International Affairs
Phone: 202-994-0155
Fax: 202-994-5477

Areas of Expertise

Middle East politics, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, international relations of the Persian Gulf region, the United Nations organization


Ambassador Gnehm was born on November 10, 1944 in Carrollton, Georgia. He attended The George Washington University, graduating with a B.A. in International Affairs in 1966 and a M.A. in 1968. From 1966-1967, he attended The American University in Cairo, Egypt, under a post-graduate Rotary International Fellowship. Subsequent to graduation, Ambassador Gnehm worked for the United States Navy.

Ambassador Gnehm joined the faculty of the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University in August 2004 as the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Visiting Professor of International Affairs. He was appointed to his present position as Kuwait Professor of Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs in August 2006. He is also Director of the Middle East Policy Forum. Prior to coming to the Elliott School, Ambassador Gnehm had a distinguished 36-year career in the United States Foreign Service. He was a member of the Senior Foreign Service and held the rank of Career Minister. His career record follows:

  • 2001-2004, U.S. Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
  • 2000-2001, U.S. Ambassador to Australia
  • 1997-2000, Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Personnel for the Department of State
  • 1994-1997, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations (New York)
  • 1991-1994, U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait
  • 1989-1990, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of New East and South Asian Affairs
  • 1987-1989, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Near East and South Asia
  • 1984-1987, Deputy Chief of Mission, American Embassy, Amman, Jordan
  • 1983-1984, Director, Secretariat Staff, Department of State, Washington, D.C.
  • 1982-1983, Director, Junior Officer Division, Bureau of Personnel, Department of State
  • 1978-1981, Deputy Chief of Mission, American Embassy, Sanaa, Yemen Arab Republic
  • 1976-1978 Head, U.S. Liaison Office, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • 1974-1975, Deputy Principal Officer, U.S. Interest Section, Damascus, Syria

Ambassador Gnehm has received two international decorations: Kuwait Decoration Medallion Special Class from His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Shaikh Jaber Al-Sabah and the Order of Istiqlal First Class from His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Ambassador Gnehm received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award in 2000. In 2004 Secretary of State Powell awarded Ambassador Gnehm the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award for his work in Jordan. He also received two Presidential Meritorious Service Awards in 1990 for his public service as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, and in 1991, for his service as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. During his career he received a number of other State Department awards, including Superior Honor Awards for his service in Kuwait and Riyadh, in Washington as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and in Taif, Saudi Arabia, as Special Envoy to the Kuwaiti Government, and Meritorious Honor Awards for his work in Damascus and Beirut. Ambassador Gnehm has been awarded two Secretary of Defense Medals for Meritorious Civilian Service: one by Secretary of Defense Carlucci for his service in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and a second by Secretary Perry for his support to U.S. forces during and after Desert Storm.

In 1993, the National U.S. Arab Chamber of Commerce recognized Ambassador Gnehm for his support for U.S. business abroad. He is also the recipient of The George Washington University's Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award (1992) and was selected in 1995 by the New York City Alumni Club as the New York City Alumnus of the Year. In 2012 he was honored as the recipient of the Jane Lingo Alumni Outstanding Service Award.

Ambassador Gnehm served seven years as a member of The George Washington University Board of Trustees and was a member of the Board's Executive Committee and Chairman of the Student Affairs Committee. He was previously Vice President of the General Alumni Association and currently serves as the faculty representative to its Board of Directors.

Ambassador Gnehm was elected to the American Academy of Diplomacy in 2005. He holds leadership positions in several organizations including: the American-Kuwaiti Alliance, Chair of the Board of Directors of ANERA (American Near East Refugees Aid), the Senior Living Foundation, the Middle East Policy Council and the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Middle East Institute, DACOR (Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired), the American Philatelic Society, the American Foreign Service Association, and Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland. He is married to the former Margaret Scott of Macon, Georgia. They have two children, Cheryl and Edward III.


M.A., George Washington University

Classes Taught

IAFF 6503 Professional Skills:

  • The Role of an Embassy in the Conduct of Foreign Policy

IAFF 6118 Special Topics in International Affairs:

  • U.S. Foreign Policy in the Persian Gulf: WWII to Present

IAFF 6119 IAff Capstone:

  • The Conduct of American Foreign Policy Abroad

IAFF 6378 Special Topics in Middle East Studies:

  • Saudi Arabia in the 21st Century