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 During her time as a congressional staff member, Diana coordinated efforts to overhaul the outdated Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, improve oversight of arms sales and security assistance, and promote diplomacy and multilateralism.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 currently chairs the board of the Center for International Policy and serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network and 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 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.

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.

Update Appropriations Bills Restrain Authority to Conduct War and Build Nuclear Weapons 

The $1 trillion package of FY2020 spending bills that passed the House in June contained important victories for reining in the aggressive and militaristic U.S. approach to national security.

Update FCNL’s Vote Recommendations on FY 2020 Funding Measure 

(Updated June 19, 2019)

This week the U.S. House of Representatives is moving a $1 trillion spending package to fund key federal departments and agencies. In the process of debating and voting on the measure, Members of Congress will be considering multiple amendments.

FCNL in the News An “Emergency” Arms Deal: Will Congress Acquiesce in Another Blow to Its Authority? 

When it comes to the war in Yemen, Congress has made its feelings known: It wants to end any U.S. participation, as well as block the sales of weapons to the countries carrying it out.

Update The Good News You Didn’t Hear About 

Lost in the media frenzy over budget negotiations, congressional investigations and military operations was a bill that contained several pieces of good news.

Action Alert Every Child Needs Love and Care 

If you don’t like how migrant children are being treated at the hands of U.S. border authorities, then you certainly won’t like how Palestinian children are being treated at the hands of the Israeli military.

Background Getting to the Core of U.S. Militarism 

Since 9/11, the United States has played an increasingly aggressive, militarized, and confrontational role in the world. Invasion, occupation, drone wars, and targeted assassinations have become so ingrained in U.S. foreign policy that many cannot imagine an alternative. An entire generation of Americans has grown up thinking this behavior is normal

Letter Letter to Congress: Fund a More Peaceful, Sustainable, and Compassionate Foreign Policy 

In the fiscal year 2020 appropriations process, Congress should prioritize funding for peacebuilding, international environmental programs, and refugee protection.