Joost Hiltermann, who received his Ph.D. in sociology from UC Santa Cruz in 1988, has been named chief operating officer of the International Crisis Group based in Brussels.

As the number two executive for the independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization, Hiltermann is responsible for the oversight and management of its programs and operations around the world. He also leads the organization’s strategic planning process.

The Crisis Group was founded in 1995, committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict. Chairman is Thomas Pickering, former U.S. Undersecretary of State; Ambassador to the UN, Russia, India, Israel, Jordan, El Salvador and Nigeria.  Louise Arbour, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, is president and CEO. It has a budget for 2012-13 of $20.6 million and a permanent staff of 154 worldwide.

At UCSC, Hiltermann worked with professors Wally Goldfrank, Paul Lubeck, and Bill Friedland in sociology, and later with history professor Terry Burke.

Hiltermann is an Iraq specialist who has focused on the post 2003 political transition, constitutional process, the situation of the Kurds, Kirkuk and other disputed territories, oil, and relations with neighboring states. He also has expertise in Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories, security threats, authoritarianism and democratization, political Islam, and sectarianism.

For the past 10 years he was based in Washington, D.C, Istanbul, Turkey, and Amman, Jordan, as deputy director for Middle East and North Africa, managing a team of analysts to conduct research and write policy-focused reports on factors that increase the risk of and drive armed conflict.

He served with Human Rights Watch from 1992 to 2002, serving as executive director for the arms division for eight years. Earlier he was director of the Iraq Documents Project.
   
Hiltermann has written for The New York Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Financial Times, The National Interest, Middle East Report, and other publications. He is the author of two books: A Poisonous Affair: America, Iraq, and the Gassing of Halabja (Cambridge, 2007), and Behind the Intifada: Labor and Women’s Movements in the Occupied Territories (Princeton, 1991), which is based on his doctoral dissertation at UCSC.