The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs will host a Director's Lunch with Assistant Secretary Thomas Countryman in the Belfer Center Library (L369).

During a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committe on October 31st, 2013, Countryman expressed his position on the future of Syrian chemical weapons:

"I am increasingly confident that we will be able to complete this task, the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons program, within the target date of June 30th of next year." Defense News.

Thomas Countryman, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, rank of Minister-Counselor, is currently serving as the Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation. The ISN Bureau leads the U.S. effort to prevent the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, their related materials, and their delivery systems.

Mr. Countryman began his State Department career in 1982, serving as a consular and political officer in Belgrade, Yugoslavia from 1983 to 1985. From 1985 to 1988, he worked in the Department's Office of Eastern European and Yugoslav Affairs. From 1988 to 1990, Mr. Countryman studied Arabic language and culture in the U.S. and Tunisia. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, he served as the Political-Military Officer at the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. From 1991 to 1993, he was the senior officer for reporting on political, security, and religious affairs within Egypt. In 1993 and 1994, Mr. Countryman worked in the State Department's Office of Counter-Terrorism. From 1994 to 1997, he was responsible for advising Ambassador Albright on Middle East affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, and served as liaison with the UN Special Commission investigating Iraq's weapons programs. In this position, he dealt not only with Iraq, but also with Libya, Sudan and Arab-Israeli issues.

From 1997 to 1998, Mr. Countryman served as Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, with responsibility for the region stretching from Morocco to Syria. As part of his position at the NSC, he served as the White House representative on Ambassador Dennis Ross' peace process team. From 1998 to 1999, he participated in the Senior Seminar, the federal government's most advanced professional development program for foreign affairs and national security officials.

From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Countryman was Director of the Office of South Central European Affairs (EUR/SCE) in the Department of State, where he focused on working with the democratic opposition in Serbia. From 2001 to 2005, he was the Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the American Embassy in Rome, Italy. After a short assignment as Director of the Office of United Nations Political Affairs in the Department, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Athens, Greece from 2005 to 2008. For a five-month period in 2007, he served as the Charge d'Affaires of the Embassy. In 2008 to 2009, he was the Foreign Policy Advisor to General James Conway, the Commandant of the US Marine Corps. He served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs in during 2009 to 2010, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs (with responsibility for Balkan affairs) from 1010 to 2011.

The Department of State gave him the Superior Honor Award for each of his assignments at USUN, EUR/SCE, Rome and Athens. He was awarded Senior performance pay in 2006 and 2007, and received the Presidential Meritorious Service Citation for 2007. Mr. Countryman graduated from Washington University in St. Louis (summa cum laude) with a degree in economics and political science, and studied at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His foreign language skills include Serbo-Croatian, Arabic, Italian, Greek and German. He is a native of Tacoma, Washington.

As space is limited for this event, RSVPs will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Belfer Center Lunches are strictly off-the-record. By requesting to attend the lunch, you agree that you will comply with the Belfer Center's strict policy against recording or disclosing the contents of the lunch. Your access is conditioned on your compliance with these restrictions. Should you violate these rules, the Center will pursue all available legal options and you will be excluded from all future events.