The Honorable Denise Natali

Director, INSS

Areas of Expertise:  Post-Conflict Stabilization, Middle East, Iraq, Turkey, transborder Kurdish issue.

Dr. Denise Natali is the Director of the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. She previously served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations. Dr. Natali has worked extensively overseas in conflict and border zones as part of the Agency for International Development’s disaster assistance relief team in northern Iraq in support of Operation Provide Comfort II, director of cross-border operations for an NGO in Peshawar, Pakistan, and dean of students and director of the Institute of Regional and International Studies at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani, to name a few.

Dr. Natali is an award-winning author whose books include The Kurdish Quasi-State: Development and Dependency in Post-Gulf War Iraq and The Kurds and the State: Evolving National Identity in Iraq, Turkey, and Iran (Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title). She has also published numerous articles on Middle East security, Iraq, Turkey, regional energy politics, and the cross-border Kurdish issue.

Dr. Natali received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a B.A. in government at Franklin & Marshall College. She studied at L’Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris, the University of Tehran Deh Khoda Language Program in Iran, and Tel Aviv University. Dr. Natali is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and speaks French and conversational Kurdish and Farsi.