Barbara A. Leaf

Photo of Barbara A. Leaf
U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates
Term of Appointment: 11/17/2014 to present

Barbara A. Leaf was confirmed as the next U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates on November 17, 2014. Prior to that, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Arabian Peninsula in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs from 2013-2014, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq from 2011-2013. Ambassador Leaf directed the U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team in the strategic province of Basrah, Iraq from 2010-2011, leaving an assignment as Political Minister Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy, to oversee the PRT's transition to a U.S. Consulate General. Prior to Rome, Ambassador Leaf served as the first Director of the Department of State's Office of Iranian Affairs.

From 2004-2006, Ambassador Leaf served as Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where she helped advance key U.S. policy goals on democratization and political reform, counter-terrorism, and regional reintegration among the former combatant states of the former Yugoslavia. From 2003-2004, she directed the Regional Headquarters of the Office of the High Representative (OHR), in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina, enforcing implementation of civilian aspects of the Dayton peace accords, including the return of refugees to areas from which they had been ethnically cleansed.

From 2001-2003, Ambassador Leaf served as Advisor to the Department's Medical Director, in a position created in the wake of September 11 to develop medical and security programs to counter and respond to chemical/biological/nuclear threats to U.S. diplomatic installations abroad.

From 1996-2000, Ambassador Leaf served as the Department's Middle East "Watcher" at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, reporting on French policies on Iraq, Iran, the Arab-Israeli dispute, Libya, and terrorism issues.

Ambassador Leaf's previous tours include assignments in Cairo, as Kuwait Desk Officer during the first Gulf War, Jerusalem, the Department's Operations Center, and Port-au-Prince.

Ambassador Leaf is a member of the Senior Foreign Service, and has received six Superior Honor and four Meritorious Honor Awards during her career. She received a B.A. in Government from the College of William and Mary and a Master's Degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia, with a focus on Soviet Affairs.

Ambassador Leaf speaks Arabic, French, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian.