Board Chair

Diana Ohlbaum is Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Quaker peace lobby. In that role, she directs FCNL’s foreign policy lobbying team and leads an effort to replace the current U.S. foreign policy paradigm of military domination and national superiority with a more ethical and effective one based on cooperation and mutual respect.

From 2013-2018, Dr. Ohlbaum ran an independent consulting firm specializing in advocacy, political strategy and legislative impact. Before that, as a Senior Professional Staff Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, she conducted oversight of foreign assistance programs and coordinated efforts to overhaul the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. She previously served as Deputy Director of USAID's Office ofTransition Initiatives, a cutting-edge unit designed to advance peace and democracy in priority conflict-prone countries, and as Director of Public Policy for InterAction, an alliance of NGOs engaged in humanitarian relief and international development.

In addition to the CIP Board, Dr. Ohlbaum serves on the Executive Committee of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network and the Advisory Council of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Russian Studies from Amherst College.

The trouble with all that spending on national defense

by Diana Ohlbaum



In rejecting one statistic regarding the size of the U.S. defense budget, Robert J. Samuelson missed the point and undermined his own argument in his Jan. 28 op-ed, “The truth about defense spending.” The United States now spends more on the military, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it did at the height of the Korean War, the Vietnam War or the Cold War...

Will More Women In Congress Mean Better U.S. Foreign Policy?

by Diana Ohlbaum


The 116th Congress will seat more women than ever before—at least 125, an increase of 18. These women will be a more diverse group, among them 43 women of color, including the first two Muslim congresswomen, first two Native American congresswomen, first black congresswomen from Massachusetts and Connecticut, first two Latina congresswomen from Texas, and the youngest congresswoman...

Narcissus On The World Stage

by Diana Ohlbaum


Narcissus? No, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. In fact, I don’t want to talk about Trump any more. Frankly, I don’t even want to hear about Trump any more. My outrage meter is broken... READ MORE »

Who is this woman standing next to Trump?

by Diana Ohlbaum


The June 2 front-page article “Summit with Kim will go forward, Trump announces,” about reinstatement of the summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was accompanied by a photograph of Trump and two others... READ MORE »

Stabilization Of Afghanistan: The Little Engine That Couldn’t

by Diana Ohlbaum


“Between 2001 and 2017, U.S. government efforts to stabilize insecure and contested areas in Afghanistan mostly failed.” Those are not my words. They’re not from some partisan pundit or ideological crusader. It’s the conclusion reached by the Special Inspector General who’s been investigating U.S. reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan for the past six years (SIGAR)... READ MORE »

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