John Limbert

Image of John Limbert
Visiting Faculty

John Limbert has had a fifty-year career as an academic, American diplomat, prisoner, and novelist. He first visited Iran in 1962 and has since lived and worked in nearly a dozen countries in the Middle East and Islamic Africa. 


Limbert is an academic, novelist, and retired Foreign Service Officer. In 2018 he ended twelve years as a Class of 1955 Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy. During a 34-year diplomatic career, he served mostly in the Middle East and Islamic Africa (including two tours in Iraq), was Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and served as deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Iranian affairs. Beginning in 1964, he worked in Iran as a university and high school teacher and later was among the last American diplomats to serve in Iran, where he was held hostage in 1979-81. He has authored numerous books and articles on Middle Eastern subjects, including the espionage novel (co-authored with Ambassador Marc Grossman) Believers, set in Washington and Tehran in the 1980s and the present. 

Limbert was a visiting faculty member at Bennington for Spring 2023.