John Waterbury

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John Waterbury (born February 11, 1939) is an American academic.

Early years[edit]

Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Waterbury attended Princeton University (BA 1961), studied Arabic at the American University of Cairo (1961–62), and got his PhD in political science in 1968 at Columbia University.[1] He went on to the University of Michigan as assistant professor of political science.


In 1971 he joined the American Universities Field Staff, a consortium of American Universities, which he represented in Cairo from 1971 to 1977. In the winter of 1972, he was a visiting professor at the AUFS facility in Rome. During 1977-78 he was visiting professor at the University of Aix-Marseille III in France.

He was then, for nearly twenty years, professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He specialized in the political economy of the developing countries with a special focus on the Middle East. He was director of Princeton's Center of International Studies and editor of the academic journal World Politics from 1992 to 1998.

In 1998, Waterbury became the 14th president of the American University of Beirut, a post he held until 2008.[2] He was the first president to reside in Beirut since 1984. During his tenure at AUB, Waterbury sought to restore the university to its long-standing place and reputation as an institution of higher learning meeting the highest international standards.[citation needed] AUB offered Waterbury an Honorary Doctorate during his last commencement exercises at the university in recognition of his achievements. University of Chicago Egyptologist Peter Dorman succeeded him as the 15th president of AUB on July 1, 2008.

He is now a Global Professor of Political Science in New York University (Abu Dhabi).


Waterbury has published widely on the politics of the Middle East, the political economy of public enterprise, and on the development of international river basins. His book The Nile Basin: National Determinants of Collective Action was published by Yale University Press in 2002.


  1. ^ Directory, Foreign Area Fellows (Foreign Area Fellowship Program, 1973), p. 147.
  2. ^ Chicago professor named president of American University of Beirut Archived 2011-11-28 at the Wayback Machine.