Diana Ohlbaum

Diana Ohlbaum

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.



April 23, 2021

The Bloated Pentagon Budget Isn’t Just Wasteful. It’s Racist

by Diana Ohlbaum

Americans can no longer pretend that the size of the Pentagon budget is a measure of national security, or that spending more on the military will keep us safer. Instead, we must recognize the Pentagon budget for what it is: a monument to white supremacy. And like Confederate statues, it needs to be removed from its pedestal.

November 29, 2018

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...

February 9, 2019

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...

August 2, 2018

UN Vote Buying: A Bad Idea That Never Dies

by Diana Ohlbaum

The Trump administration is agitating for a “sweeping reassessment” of the way foreign aid is distributed. Rather than making decisions based on where it is needed most or how it can be put to best use, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is proposing to tie aid to how countries vote in the UN General Assembly...