Joe Saba is a senior advisor at the World Bank, where he advises on strategies and operations for assistance to countries facing multiple crises, including violence, displacement, and fiscal distress. He presently advises on country programs for Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Lebanon. Saba also serves as chairman of the Board of Directors (and member since 2013) for the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA). He is an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago Law School, where he designed and teaches a course on rule of law for development in conflict-affected states.
Over the past few years, Saba has led several program evaluations of international assistance for the World Bank, the European Union, Denmark, and the UN, including in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Palestine. He is currently a quality advisor for an EU evaluation of global rule of law programs.
Prior to these engagements, as country director and regional director at the World Bank, Saba served 13 years (1997-2010) leading programs in the Mashreq (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, West Bank/Gaza, and the GCC states). He participated in drafting the Holst Fund, the first multi-donor trust fund for Palestinians. Afterward, he participated in drafting the reconstruction trust funds for Afghanistan and Iraq, co-chairing the ministerial and agency led conferences and oversight for the UN-World Bank Iraq programs. He resided four years in Jerusalem and part-time in Beirut for another eight years.
Saba was an adjunct professor at Georgetown School of Foreign Service from 2010-2015. Between 2009 and 2020, he lectured at NATO training courses. He has served on panels in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia. He has authored a book and a variety of articles on development practice, corporate governance, and rule of law reforms.
Prior to duties as Middle East regional director, Saba initiated a new division at the World Bank centered on rule of law with focus on property rights, financial intermediation, economic legality, and fiscal stability for countries transitioning out of crises. His focus for five years was primarily in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Before joining the World Bank in 1991, Saba was a partner in Jones Day, an international law firm. He established the firm’s office in the Middle East, residing there for four years. In addition to his law practice, he was a founder and editor of International Executive Reports, which published professional journals focused on law and doing business in the Middle East, East Europe, and East Asia.
Between graduate and law school, Saba served three years as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer assigned to the Middle East region and resided in that capacity for two years in Kuwait.
Saba holds a JD from Yale Law School, an MA in Middle East Studies from Harvard University, and a BA from King’s College (PA). He resides near Washington, DC, in Maryland.