Diana Ohlbaum

Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy


Diana Ohlbaum, Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy

Diana Ohlbaum directs FCNL’s foreign policy lobbying team and leads an effort to replace the current U.S. foreign policy paradigm of military domination and national superiority with a more ethical and effective one based on cooperation and mutual respect.

She brings to FCNL nearly two decades of experience on Capitol Hill, where she served as a senior professional staff member of both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and earlier as an aide to Senator Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD). During her time as a congressional staff member, Diana coordinated efforts to overhaul the outdated Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, improve oversight of arms sales and security assistance, and promote diplomacy and multilateralism.

Immediately prior to joining FCNL in August 2018, Diana worked as an independent consultant specializing in advocacy, political strategy and legislative impact. Most of her clients were non-governmental organizations and foundations working in the areas of sustainable development and human security.

Diana also has experience in the executive branch and in the nonprofit sector. From 1999-2001 she served as deputy director of USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives, a cutting-edge unit designed to advance peace and democracy in priority conflict-prone countries. She also worked as director of public policy for InterAction, an alliance of NGOs engaged in humanitarian relief and international development.

Diana is currently a member of the executive committees of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network and the Center for International Policy, and serves on the Advisory Council of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Russian studies from Amherst College.

Articles by Diana Ohlbaum

Update Building the Movement for a New Peaceful Foreign Policy  

Annual Meeting 2019

FCNL's senior strategist and legislative director for foreign policy, Diana Ohlbaum, delivered this address at Annual Meeting 2019.

FCNL in the News How (Not) To End Endless Wars 

In defending his decision to withdraw troops from Syria, President Trump explained, “I ran on the basis we’re going to bring our great soldiers back home where they belong. We don’t have to fight these endless wars. We’re bringing them back home.”

Action Alert Important Vote Pending: Congressional Negotiations Could End or Prevent Three Wars 

Right now, we have a unique opportunity to end two wars and prevent a new one from starting.

Update In for the Long Haul on Israel-Palestine 

In a month filled with foreign policy lobbying successes – on ending the war with Iraq, preventing war with Iran, halting U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, blocking funds for dangerous new nuclear weapons, and addressing climate change, among other areas – Israel-Palestine stands out as a conspicuous exception.

Statement Diana Ohlbaum Statement On Congressional Action To Stop War With Iran 

Recently, FCNL joined Senators, House members, and many other faith groups at a rally calling for legislation to prevent unauthorized war with Iran, an issue FCNL has been working hard on for months, if not years.

Update House Votes to End War with Iraq, Prevent War with Iran 

The House of Representatives also adopted bipartisan amendments to the annual defense policy bill which advance our work on nuclear weapons, climate, ending U.S. support for the war in Yemen, and more.

In a pair of stunning victories last week, the House of Representatives adopted bipartisan amendments to the annual defense policy bill that would repeal the 17-year-old authority to engage in a war with Iraq and prohibit spending on an unauthorized war with Iran. The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2020 (NDAA) then passed the House by a final vote of 220-97, without any Republican votes.

Legislative Ask FCNL Recommendations on the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2020 

As the House of Representatives considers amendments to H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2020, the Friends Committee on National Legislation – a nonpartisan, Quaker-led organization with over one hundred advocacy teams and tens of thousands of individual advocates of many different faiths across the country – offers the following recommendations for votes under the rule.

Action Alert Your Member of Congress Could Help Prevent War with Iran 

The U.S. and Iran are moving closer to war every day. As tensions escalate between our two nations, the risk grows of accidents and miscalculations that could tip us into another deadly conflict in the Middle East.

Update House Appropriations Bills Advance FCNL’s Priorities 

Each year FCNL lobbyists work hard to bring federal spending decisions in line with Quaker values – but it’s a tough job. Invariably, Congress allocates more for the Pentagon and less for domestic and diplomatic programs than we believe is ethical. But this year – thanks to the concerted efforts of advocates like you – FCNL achieved impressive successes in almost every area.

Action Alert Congress Must Act to prevent War Iran 

Plan a drop-by visit.

Each day, it seems, the United States moves closer to war with Iran. Congress has the power to stop this, and they could face a vote as soon as July 8 on whether to prevent another devastating war in the Middle East.