Zach Vertin

Lecturer of Public and International Affairs

Robertson Hall


Zach Vertin is a writer, foreign policy analyst, and former diplomat. He currently teaches international mediation, negotiation, and peace processes, drawing on recent case studies from around the world. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution's Foreign Policy program and its Middle East center in Doha, where his work focuses on the Gulf, the Horn of Africa, and the changing geopolitics of the Red Sea. Vertin previously served in the Obama Administration as Director of Policy for the US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, which spearheads American diplmoacy on behalf of the State Department and the White House. Prior to that, he spent six years at the International Crisis Group, where he served as Senior Analyst in the Africa program, and an advisor on UN peace operations and multilateral affairs in New York.

Vertin was a principal adviser to the chief mediator of the South Sudan peace process 2014-2016, and an architect of a diplomatic initiative on U.S.-Sudan bilateral relations that led to presidential action in 2017. Vertin’s new book 'A Rope From the Sky: The Making and Unmaking of the World's Newest State' (Pegasus 2019) chronicles the extraordinary birth–and subsequent collapse–of the Republic of South Sudan.

Vertin was previously a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and has written and consulted for the International Peace Institute, the Atlantic Council, and the U.S. Institute of Peace. He is also a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has written or offered commentary for: The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Financial Times, The Economist, The Guardian, Le Monde, CNN, Al Jazeera, and the BBC.    He earned a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and master’s degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is a native of Minnesota.