Biography

Juan José Escobar Stemmann is the 2023-24 Rafael del Pino-Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Ambassador Escobar is a senior Spanish diplomat with a rich and varied career. A specialist in Arab and Islamic affairs, he served as Spanish Ambassador to Iraq from 2017 to 2021. He served earlier as Spain's Consul General in Jerusalem (2013-16), closely observing the U.S.-led Middle East peace initiative during the Obama era and confronting the challenges of the 2014 Gaza conflict. He previously held the posts of Ambassador at Large for the Mediterranean (2011-13), Deputy Head of Mission in Jordan (2002-06), and First Secretary in Morocco (1996-2000).

Outside the Middle East and North Africa, Ambassador Escobar served most recently as Ambassador at Large for the city of Málaga's bid to host Expo2027 (2022-23). From 2016 to 2017, he was Vice President of the U.S.-Spanish Military Committee at the Spanish Ministry of Defense.

Ambassador Escobar is the author of numerous book chapters and articles on such issues as Islamic activism, political reform in the Arab world, and Euro-Mediterranean relations. He is an honorary professor in International Public Law at the University of Málaga and an associate professor of Public Diplomacy at Loyola University of Córdoba. In addition, he has taught courses on Middle East Affairs at the Spanish Diplomatic School and the Center of Defense Studies of the Spanish Ministry of Defense, among other institutions. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Elcano Royal Institute, Spain's leading think tank. 

Beyond his diplomatic responsibilities, Ambassador Escobar has devoted himself to the promotion of democracy. He is a founder and former member of the Executive Committee of the European Endowment for Democracy, where he oversaw, between 2013 and 2017, the design and execution of over 200 projects across the Middle East.

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