Esther Brimmer is an American foreign policy expert and former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs. In June 2013, she left her post as Assistant Secretary and returned to academia.
In January 2017, she became the executive director and CEO of NAFSA.
From October 2013 to January, 2017, she is the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of International Affairs at the George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.
She received a D.Phil. and master's degrees in International Relations from the University of Oxford, UK, and a B.A. in International Relations from Pomona College in Claremont, California, USA.
Brimmer has served in the United States government and in international affairs think tanks. From 1999-2001 she was a Member of the Office of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State working on the European Union, Western Europe, the United Nations, and multilateral security issues. From 1995-1999 she managed projects as a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. She also served as a Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (1993-1995) and as a Legislative Analyst at the Democratic Study Group in the United States House of Representatives (1991-1993). From 1989-1991 she was a management consultant with McKinsey.
From September 2005 on Brimmer was a visiting professor at the College of Europe.
She was nominated to the post of Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs by President Barack Obama on March 11, 2009, and was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 2, 2009. Previously, Dr. Brimmer served as Deputy Director and Director of Research at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C.
She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Women in International Security.
She left her post at the State Department in June 2013 to resume her position in academia.
Brimmer is the daughter of Andrew Brimmer, the first African American to have served as governor of the Federal Reserve System. Her husband is historian and author Steven Beller.
She has, inter alia, edited Transforming Homeland Security: U.S. and European Approaches (2006), The Strategic Implications of European Union Enlargement (with Fröhlich, 2005), The EU’s Search for a Strategic Role: ESDP and Its Implications for Transatlantic Relations (2002) and The European Union Constitutional Treaty: A Guide for Americans (2004), and she is the author of The United States, the European Union and International Human Rights Issues (2002).