Dr. Leah Pisar is Chair of Project Aladdin. By upbringing and training, Leah Pisar is an expert on transatlantic relations and on US and EU foreign policy, with substantial knowledge of the Middle East and the workings of the United Nations. She is a frequent television, radio and print commentator, and has been particularly active in European media on topics of US domestic and foreign policy.
She held several positions in the Clinton administration: at the White House as Director for communications at the National Security Council, at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Public Affairs and at the U.S. Embassy in Paris as Special Assistant and Speechwriter to Ambassador Pamela Harriman.
After leaving the White House in 2001, she completed her doctoral dissertation, which focused on Euro-American diplomatic tensions over the Iraq War, and was published in France, under the title: Orage sur l’Atlantique (Fayard, 2010). During this time, she was a visiting scholar at the Center for American Progress and at the Institut Français des Relations Internationales. She co-edited a book The U.S. and the EU: Perceptions and Challenges (Global Understanding Series, 2008) and served as Rapporteur for the Council on Foreign Relations task force, “Renewing the Atlantic Partnership” chaired by Henry Kissinger and Lawrence Summers.
Her father, one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz, Dachau and Majdanek, instilled in her the firm belief that there are no such things as hereditary enemies. Since his death in 2015, she has taken on his message as her mission. Currently working on a family memoir, she also regularly narrates, with her mother, the text written by her father for Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony no. 3 “Kaddish,” with leading world orchestras.
Dr Pisar holds a BA in government from Harvard College, a Masters in political science from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques of Paris (where she has also taught a graduate seminar from 2013-2018) and a PhD in international law from the University of Paris. She is a laureate of the French Concours Général.
She is a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the boards of the Franco-American Fulbright Commission, the French Institute and the Harriman Foreign Service Fellowship. She has been a Young Leader of the American Council on Germany’s program on the Future of Europe, and a Rising Talent of the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society. She was awarded the Global Hope Coalition’s Hero Award in 2019 and the French National Order of Merit in 2021.
A U.S. citizen, she was born and raised in Paris, and speaks English and French interchangeably. She also speaks fluent Spanish and is proficient in Italian and Portuguese.
Her late husband, Jérôme Haas, headed the French Accounting Standards Board until his death in May 2014. Their son, Jeremiah, was born in November 2014.