Meet the Dean


photo: Dean Reuben Brigety is seated next to speaker Muhammed Yunus and is smiling while watching Yunus speak

Dean Reuben Brigety II with Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus

Reuben E. Brigety II, who served as U.S. ambassador to the African Union, joined the Elliott School as dean in 2015.  Dean Brigety’s distinguished career includes service as the permanent representative of the United States to the UN Economic Commission for Africa and as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of African Affairs from Nov. 14, 2011, until Sept. 3, 2013, at which time he had responsibility for Southern African and regional security affairs.

In the two years prior to that, he was deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. In this capacity, he supervised U.S. refugee programs in Africa, managed U.S. humanitarian diplomacy with major international partners and oversaw the development of international migration policy.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Dean Brigety served the United States in a a number of internationally focused civilian and military positions. He was director of the Sustainable Security Program at the Center for American Progress from January 2008 to November 2009; from November 2008 to January 2009, he also served as a senior adviser for development and security on the U.S. Central Command Assessment Team in Washington, D.C., and Doha, Qatar. He was a special assistant in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development from January 2007 to January 2008.  

Prior to his work in the policy arena, the dean was an assistant professor of government and politics at George Mason University and at the School of International Service at American University. Before joining academia, he conducted research missions in Afghanistan and Iraq with the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW). Dean Brigety began his career as a U.S. naval officer and held several staff positions at the Pentagon and in fleet support units.

As a distinguished midshipman graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he earned a B.S. in political science (with merit), he served as the brigade commander and received the Thomas G. Pownall Scholarship. He holds a master’s degree in philosophy and a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Cambridge, England. Dean Brigety is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a recipient of the council’s International Affairs Fellowship.