Dr. Amanda Sloat served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean Affairs at the State Department until May 2016. She also served as Senior Advisor to the White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf Region and as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. She previously worked as senior professional staff on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, with responsibility for European policy. Prior to her government service, she was a senior program officer with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), including work in Iraq with the Council of Representatives. Dr. Sloat holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in Political Theory from James Madison College at Michigan State University. She has published a book (Scotland in Europe: A Study of Multi-Level Governance) and numerous articles on European politics.

On February 6, 2018, Dr Amanda Sloat spoke at the Future of Diplomacy Project on "U.S.-Turkey Relations and the Future of Syria" and shared her insight on this complicated strategic relationship. Dr Sloat served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean Affairs at the State Department from 2013 to 2016 and is currently a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute.

Turkey is facing serious domestic and regional challenges, including: an attempted coup in 2016, terrorist attacks by ISIS and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and three million Syrian refugees. At the same time, President Erdogan is growing increasingly authoritarian and cracking down on the media, purging government officials accused of complicity in the coup attempt, and arresting opposition leaders and activists on spurious charges. Thousands of people have been left unemployed as a result of the purges. Dr Sloat shared a story from an NGO worker who said that the only career options for such individuals is “selling lemons in the market.”

On Syria, Dr Sloat discussed the challenge for U.S. policymakers in addressing the conflict since its beginning in 2011. Unlike Iraq, where the U.S. had a military footprint and a pro-U.S. government partner, the situation in Syria is very different. The U.S. government has lacked a clear strategy on Syria itself, which the U.S. only saw through a counterterrorism lens in the counter-ISIS fight, instead of taking a more holistic approach.

Dr Sloat also shared her insight on the possible reunification of Cyprus. She described a missed opportunity from June 2017, when Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders and foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey under the leadership of UN Secretary General António Guterres and UN Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide met in Crans Montana, Switzerland. Although the broad parameters of the solution are well known, the parties failed to resolve the unremittingly difficult security issues. Now that elections have been held in both Cypriot communities, there is a possibility to resume negotiations this year.  “As a diplomat, we are paid to be perennial optimists,” she said on the likely success of efforts to transform the island’s future.