Senior Fellows

Robert Jordan

former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia & Diplomat-in-Residence, Tower Center, SMU

Carr Collins


Robert Jordan is Diplomat in Residence and Adjunct Professor of Political Science in the John G. Tower Center for Public Policy and International Affairs at Southern Methodist University. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2001-2003. He took charge of his mission in the wake of the attacks of September 11 at a critical time in U.S.-Saudi relations. He was a partner in the international law firm Baker Botts L.L.P. for many years and headed the firm’s Middle East practice based in Dubai.

He is Vice Chair of the Tower Center Board of Directors and of the Board of Governors of the Middle East Institute. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a past president of the Dallas Bar Association and the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations. He is a member of the American Arbitration Association Commercial Panel of Arbitrators, the Panel of Distinguished Neutrals of the CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, and the London Court of Arbitration. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Bilateral U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce and is a frequent commentator with international media including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, Bloomberg and the New York Times.

Ambassador Jordan’s memoir, Desert Diplomat: Inside Saudi Arabia Following 9/11, will be published by Potomac Books in July 2015.

Education and Honors

  • J.D., University of Oklahoma College of Law, 1974
    • Editor in Chief, Oklahoma Law Review
    • Order of Barristers
    • Jessup International Law Moot Court Team
    • Phi Delta Phi
  • M.A., government and politics, University of Maryland, 1971
  • A.B., political science, Duke University, 1967
  • Recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer,  2006 - 2010
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2006 - 2010
  • Listed in Who’s Who Legal: Texas, 2008

Publications, Speeches and Presentations


  • “It is the Legacy of Peacemakers that will be Remembered,” The National, May 3, 2011
  • Saudi Arabia: An Opportunity - New Ways of Doing Business, Middle East Economic Digest (MEED), March 2006 (Stephen Matthews and Nabil Issa, co-authors)
  • “Multilateralism and American Policy: A Diplomat’s View,” Multilateralism v. Unilateralism: Policy Choices in a Global Society, British Institute of International and Comparative Law and Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, 2004 (John B. Attanasio and Joseph J. Norton, eds.)

Speeches and Presentations

  • “Ethical Dilemmas in War,” Schlinger Symposium, Dallas, Texas, December 2009
  •  “Arabs and Israelis Struggle for Common Ground,” Wellesley College, October 2009
  • “Strange Bedfellows in the Middle East: Emerging Trends in the Region,” American Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong, November 2008
  • “Strange Bedfellows in the Middle East,” Association for Conflict Resolution, Austin, Texas, September 2008
  • “Geopolitical Realities in the New World,” Natural Gas Partners 2005 Strategy Seminar, Santa Fe, July 2005