Sir John Jenkins is Executive Director of The International Institute for Strategic Studies – Middle East. He took up the position in January 2015 after a 35 year career in the British Diplomatic Service.
He holds a BA (Double First Class Honours) and a Ph.D from Jesus College, Cambridge. He also studied at The School of Oriental and African Studies in London (Arabic and Burmese) and through the FCO with the London and Ashridge Business Schools. He is an alumnus of the Salzburg Seminar. He joined the FCO in 1980 and served in Abu Dhabi (1983-86), Malaysia (1989-92) and Kuwait (1995-98) before being appointed Ambassador to Burma (1999-2002). He was subsequently HM Consul-General, Jerusalem (2003-06), Ambassador to Syria (2006-07), FCO Director for the Middle East and North Africa (2007-09), Ambassador to Iraq (2009-11), Special Representative to the National Transitional Council and subsequently Ambassador to Libya (2011) and Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2012-2015).
He took an active part in Sir John Chilcott’s Iraq Inquiry and was asked by the Prime Minister in March 2014 to lead a Policy Review into the Muslim Brotherhood and Political Islamism. Until his departure from the FCO he was the government’s senior diplomatic Arabist.
He was created a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order in 1989, a Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 2007 and a Knight Commander of the same order (KCMG) in 2012. He is married to Nancy, who is Principal of the American International High School (AISR), Riyadh.