For more than twelve years, Ross played the leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and in dealing directly with the the parties in negotiations. A highly skilled diplomat, Ambassador Ross was this country's point man on the peace process in both the Bush and Clinton administrations. He was instrumental in assisting Israelis and Palestinians in reaching the 1995 Interim Agreement; he also successfully brokered the Hebron Accord in 1997, facilitated the Israeli-Jordan peace treaty, and intensively worked to bring Israel and Syria together.
A scholar and diplomat with more than two decades of experience in Soviet and Middle Eastern policy, Ambassador Ross worked closely with Secretaries of State James Baker, Warren Christopher, and Madeleine Albright. Prior to his service as Special Middle East Coordinator under President Clinton, Ross served as Director of the State Department's Policy Planning office in the first Bush administration. In that position, he played a prominent role in developing U.S. policy toward the former Soviet Union, the unification of Germany and its integration into NATO, arms control negotiations, and the development of the Gulf War coalition. He served as director of Near East and South Asian affairs on the National Security Council staff during the Reagan administration, and as Deputy Director of the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment.
A 1970 graduate of UCLA, Ambassador Ross wrote his doctoral dissertation on Soviet decision-making and served as executive director of the Berkeley-Stanford program on Soviet International Behavior from 1984 to 1986. He has received UCLA's highest medal and has also been named UCLA alumni of the year. He has received honorary doctorates from the Jewish Theological Seminary and Syracuse University.
President Clinton awarded Ambassador Ross the Presidential medal for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service, and Secretaries Baker and Albright presented him with the State Department's highest award.