Amb. William Luers

Director of The Iran Project, promoting a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff with Iran. Formerly US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia and Venezuela, and president of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Amb. William Luers appears in sessions on these topics


William Luers is an adjunct professor at Columbia University and Director of The Iran Project (www.theiranproject.org) . As Director of The Iran Project he has worked with a dozen former senior US Government officials for nearly 14 years to promote a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff with Iran. The group has five major publications over three years and many newspaper articles and OpEds..

Up to June, 2009, Ambassador Luers served as president of the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA), a position which he held for ten years.

In 1986 Ambassador Luers was named president of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City and remained in the position until 1999. During his 13 years as president, he lead in organizing the significant growth in the museum's spaces and programs, in running several successful capital campaigns, in managing its business and financial affairs, and in strengthening relations with New York and the US Government.

Prior to his 1986 move to New York to head The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Luers had a 31-year career in the Foreign Service. He served as US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1983-1986) and Venezuela (1978-1982) and held numerous posts in Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union, and in the Department of State, where he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe (1977-1978) and for Inter-American Affairs (1975-1977).

During his time in the US Foreign Service Luers also was a visiting lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He was also the director's visitor at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study in 1982-1983.

Born in Springfield, Illinois, Luers received a B.A. from Hamilton College and a M.A. from Columbia University following four years in the United States Navy. He did graduate work in Philosophy at Northwestern University and holds honorary doctorate degrees from Hamilton College and Marlboro College.

An active member of the Council on Foreign Relations and other public policy organizations, Luers has served on a number of corporate and nonprofit boards, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, The National Museum of Natural History, and The Trust for Mutual Understanding, and the Rubin Art Museum. He is a member of the American Advisory Board of Christies. He serves as the American International Advisor for the Praemium Imperiale arts award which is given annually by the Japan Art Association to five prominent artists world wide. He is also chairman of the Advisory Board of The Center for Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California.

He has spoken widely on foreign affairs, diplomacy, the UN, and the arts, and his articles have been published on foreign policy issues. He speaks Russian, Spanish and Italian.

Luers is married to Wendy Woods Luers, founder and president of The Foundation for Civil Society. He has four children, two stepchildren and ten grandchildren.

William Luers