Who We Are
- Leon Fuerth, Founder and Director
- Joanna Nicoletti, Research Assistant
Leon Fuerth, Founder and Director of the Project
Leon Fuerth is the Director of the Project on Forward Engagement ®, Research Professor of International Affairs at the George Washington University’s Institute for Global and International Studies, former Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University’s Center for Technology and National Security Policy , and the former National Security Advisor to Vice President Al Gore.
Professor Leon Fuerth’s career in government spanned thirty years, including positions in the State Department, House and Senate staff, and the White House. His most recent government service was as Vice President Gore’s National Security Adviser for the eight years of the Clinton administration, where he served on the Principals’ Committee of the National Security Council and the National Economic Council, alongside the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the President’s own National Security Advisor.
During his twelve years as a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department, Professor Fuerth served in the U.S. Consulate General in Zagreb, Yugoslavia; the office of the Counselor of the Department; the Bureau of Intelligence and Research; and in both the Bureau of Political Military Affairs and the Bureau of European Affairs in several capacities. He became a resource for strategic intelligence (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons); arms control; Soviet and Warsaw Pact affairs; and NATO.
On the Hill, Professor Fuerth worked for the late Congressman Les Aspin as staff director of the sub-committee on covert action, in the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; for Al Gore during the last two years of his term as a member of the House; and for Gore during both his terms as a Senator. In the course of this twelve-year period, Professor Fuerth was the Select Committee’s expert on arms control verification, in addition to operating as its primary staff resource for monitoring covert action; he was deeply involved in the development of arms control positions by Congressman Gore; and in the Senate, he served as Gore’s staff link to both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Committee on Science and Technology (Space sub-committee). He was responsible to Senator Gore for all aspects of national security, including international trade.
In the White House, Professor Fuerth served as Vice President Gore’s National Security Adviser for both of his terms in office. During this time, he operated – by Presidential order – as a full member of the Principals and Deputies Committees in both the National Security Council and the National Economic Council, where he participated in the formation of national policy as an advisor to both the Vice President and the President. He was the senior administration staff member responsible for the operation of bi-national commissions with Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Egypt, and South Africa, as well as the U.S.-China Environmental Forum, which he personally negotiated. For three years, he coordinated sanctions against Serbia on behalf of the U.S. government, at the request of the Principals Committee. Throughout the Clinton-Gore administration, Professor Fuerth also led efforts to develop the International Space Station with the Russians and other partners; to raise awareness and take action to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa; to denuclearize former Soviet states by providing alternative energy sources for the replacement of certain nuclear reactors and by providing alternative employment opportunities for nuclear scientists in Russia; to win China’s cooperation in protecting the environment and reducing pollution; and to spur foreign investment in Egypt, offering a positive example for other Arab nations involved in the Middle East peace process.
After retiring from government service at the conclusion of the Clinton Administration, Professor Fuerth came to The George Washington University to serve as the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of International Affairs from January 2001 to January 2003. He was then simultaneously a research professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs and a Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University. He now serves as a research professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs' Institute for Global and International Studies.
In addition, Professor Fuerth is also currently a member of the National Academy of Science Committee on Climate, Energy and National Security, a consultant to The Alliance on Climate Change, and a consultant to former Vice President Al Gore.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in history from New York University, as well as a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University.
Joanna Nicoletti, Research Assistant
Joanna Nicoletti is the Research Assistant for the Project on Forward Engagement. She is a current graduate student at the George Washington University studying Philosophy and Social Policy. Joanna has a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the Florida State University.