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John Agresto is an author, scholar, professor, lecturer, and university administrator. He worked full-time with the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani as its Interim Provost and Chancellor. He is also a member of the University's Board of Trustees and Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee.

Between August 2003 and June 2004 he served as a Coalition Provisional Authority Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Baghdad Iraq. As the representative of the CPA to the Ministry of Higher Education, he reported directly to Ambassador Bremer and was responsible for assisting the Iraqi ministry, 20 universities and commissions and 46 vocational colleges in physical rehabilitation, intellectual renewal, curricular reform, the establishment of scholarship and exchange programs, and in opening up the universities of Iraq once again to the outside world. His book on the situation in Iraq, Mugged By Reality – The Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions, was published by Encounter Books in 2007.

Before going to Iraq, Dr. Agresto was President of St John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico for ten years (St. John's is a small liberal arts college in the "great books" tradition; its sister campus in Annapolis was founded in 1696 making it the third oldest college in America). During those years the college conducted a most successful capital campaign, tripling Santa Fe’s endowment, completing the library, a student center, and a new dormitory complex. The college also instituted a program of executive seminars and summer great books seminars for adults, as well as a graduate program in Eastern Classics. In 2002-3,after leaving St. John's, Agresto was the Lilly Senior Research Fellow at Wabash College.

Prior to becoming president of St. John's, Agresto taught at the University of Toronto, Kenyon College, Duke University and the New School University. In the 1980’s, Agresto was the Assistant, Deputy, and Acting Chairman for the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C. (The NEH is a federal funding agency in support of the humanities and humanities education.) He has also worked at the Philanthropy Roundtable assisting foundations and donors in supporting projects and programs in American colleges and universities. He also served for a time as Interim President of the American College of Education (ACE)in Chicago.

Dr. Agresto is currently a Fellow at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.

Agresto is widely published in the areas of politics, law, and education.



Mugged By Reality – The Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions. Encounter Books, February 2007. It was featured on CSPAN's book TV on June 17, 2007.

The Supreme Court and Constitutional Democracy, Cornell University Press, 1984. (Reprinted for overseas distribution by Prentice Hall of India, 1986, and Ferozsons Ltd., Pakistan, 1987.)

Liberty and Equality Under the Constitution, editor and contributor. The American Political Science Association and the American Historical Association, 1983.

The Humanist as Citizen: Essays on the Uses of the Humanities, co-editor and contributor. The National Humanities Center, with UNC Press, 1982.

Professional Associations

Member, National Association of Scholars
Member, Council of the National Alumni Forum

Boards and Commissions

Member and Chair of the Academic Committee, Board of Trustees, The American University of Iraq in Sulaimani
Former Member, Board of Directors, The Ball Foundation, 1995 - 2001
Former Member, Independent Commission on the Arts (Presidential Appointment)
Former Commissioner, Columbian Quincentenary Commission (Ex officio)
Board of Trustees of the Pontifical College Josephinum, 1990 - 1996
Member, U.S. (Presidential) Delegation to Observe the Elections in Suriname, 1987


Ph.D., 1974 Cornell University (Government)

A.B., 1967 Boston College (Political Science/History)

Honorary Degrees

Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, 1989
Institute of Policy Studies, Washington DC, 2005



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