Muasher, Marwan (1956–)
Marwan Jamil Muasher (Mu'ashir) is a prominent Jordanian diplomat and politician, deeply involved in Jordanian relations with Israel and the United States.
Muasher was born to a Christian family in Amman, Jordan, in 1956. The Lebanese Civil War interrupted his studies at the American University in Beirut, and he completed his B.A. in electrical engineering in 1977 at Purdue University in the United States. Muasher also obtained a Ph.D. in computer engineering from Purdue in 1981.
Muasher thereafter returned to Jordan to work in the private sector, and began writing columns for Jordan's English-language daily newspaper. In 1985, he entered government service at the Jordanian Ministry of Planning. In 1989, he became press adviser to the prime minister, leading to his appointment as director of the Jordan Information Bureau, part of the Jordanian embassy, in Washington, D.C. from 1991 to 1994. In that capacity, Muasher entered the diplomatic realm by using his fluent, American-accented English as spokesperson for the Jordanian delegation to the Jordanian-Palestinian-Israeli peace talks that commenced in Madrid in October 1991.
In April 1995, Muasher's experience in diplomacy led to his posting as Jordan's first ambassador to Israel, only the second Arab ambassador ever sent to the Jewish state. He went on to become Jordan's minister of information in 1996, and then its ambassador to the United States in 1997. From 2002 to 2004, he was Jordan's minister of foreign affairs, deputy prime minister in 2004 and 2005, and was appointed to the Jordanian Senate in November 2005.
Name: Marwan Jamil Muasher (also Mu'ashshir)
Birth: 1956, Amman, Jordan
Family: Wife, Lynne; children, Omar and Hana
Education: American University of Beirut, 1972–1975; B.A., electrical engineer, Purdue University, 1977; Ph.D., computer engineering, Purdue University, 1981
- 1985: Works at Ministry of Planning
- 1989: Press adviser to prime minister
- 1991: Jordan Information Bureau, Washington; spokesperson, Jordanian delegation to Madrid peace talks
- 1995: Jordanian ambassador to Israel
- 1996: Minister of information
- 1997: Ambassador to United States
- 2002: Minister of foreign affairs
- 2005: Appointed to Jordanian Senate
- 2006: Senior vice president, World Bank
INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS
Muasher was the public face of Jordanian diplomacy during a crucial time in Jordan's history. The renewal of Arab-Israeli peace talks in 1991 led to the second peace treaty between Israel and an Arab state, between Jordan and Israel, in October 1994. As spokesperson for Jordanian negotiators and as Jordan's ambassador to Israel, Muasher carried the burden of expressing Jordan's positions clearly and forthrightly. As ambassador to the United States, he worked hard to ensure completion of the U.S.-Jordanian Free Trade Agreement, and as foreign minister, was in office during a time when Jordan's security ties with the United States increased.
Muasher also has had to shoulder his public tasks during times of considerable domestic difficulty and controversy. The peace treaty with Israel was not universally popular in Jordan. As minister of information, Muasher was responsible for censorship under the 1993 Press and Publications Law, and several leading journalists were arrested during his time in office. In a country where the average citizen harbors decidedly anti-American and pro-Iraqi sentiments, he was publicly urging a peaceful resolution of the Iraq crisis even as Jordan secretly allowed U.S. troops to invade Iraq from its territory in March 2003. Muasher has been the highest-profile Christian in the government of a country in which Islam is the state religion, at a time when Islamic opposition to the government has remained strong.
On 16 March 2007 Muasher was appointed senior vice president for external affairs of the World Bank.
THE WORLD'S PERSPECTIVE
Muasher is known as a very capable diplomat who skillfully represented his country's interests. In 2000 he was given the Diplomat of the Year award by the World Affairs Council of Los Angeles.
Muasher was one of the most important Jordanian diplomats working on the Jordanian-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli relations after the start of peace talks in 1991, and for a long time was the most articulate and visible spokesperson for Jordanian interests other than the king himself.
Muasher, Marwan. "The Arab Initiative and the Role of Arab Diplomacy." Bitterlemons 43 (25 November 2002). Available from http://www.jordanembassyus.org/hemm10262004.htm.
――――――. "Ten Years down the Road to Peace." Jordan Times (26 October 2004). Available from http://www.jordanembassyus.org/hemm10262004.htm.
"Transcript of Interview of CNN's Wolf Blitzer." Embassy of Jordan-Washington, D.C. Updated 14 March 2004. Available from http://www.jordanembassyus.org/hemm03142004.htm.
Michael R. Fischbach