Hillary Mann Leverett is chief executive officer of Stratega, a political risk consulting firm. From 2001-2003, she served as director for Iran, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Affairs at the National Security Council. In that capacity, she was one of a small number of U.S. officials authorized to negotiate directly with senior Iranian officials over Afghanistan, al Qaeda, and Iraq. She spent over ten years working for the State Department, including as Middle East expert for the Secretary of Stateâ€™s Policy Planning Staff, political adviser on the Middle East, Sudan, and Central Asia at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, and in U.S. embassies in Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. She also worked as an Associate Director on Middle East issues at the National Security Council from 1993-1994 and as a Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School with more than 20 years of academic, legal, business, diplomatic, and policy experience working on Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Russian, and African issues. She has published Op Eds on Middle Eastern, Russian and South Asian issues in The New York Times, The National Interest, The Wall Street Journal, al Hayat, and Salon, has appeared on news and public affairs programs on BBC, CNN, and MSNBC, and Al Jazeera. She was profiled in a feature story in the November 2007 issue of Esquire magazine. She has spoken at the Middle East Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the New America Foundation in Washington, DC and provided expert testimony to the U.S. House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.