Richard Holbrooke '62, professor-at-large at the Watson Institute for International Studies and a former U.N. ambassador, was appointed special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan in a State Department ceremony Thursday.
Holbrooke, whom President Barack Obama praised yesterday as "one of the most talented diplomats of his generation," served as President Bill Clinton's representative to the U.N. from 1999 to 2001. He has also worked as assistant secretary of state for Europe and for Asia, and is credited with brokering the Dayton Peace Accords in Bosnia in 1995.
"I commend President Obama for his selection of Richard Holbrooke as special envoy," President Ruth Simmons said in a statement issued through a University spokesperson. "His knowledge, experience and tenacity make him supremely qualified for this challenging post."
A professor-at-large since 2007, Holbrooke holds an honorary Doctor of Laws degree granted to him by the University in 1997. The former history concentrator also received the 1996 Roger Williams Award, the Brown Alumni Association's highest honor.
After Holbrooke, a former Herald editor-in-chief, graduated from Brown, he entered the Foreign Service and served in Vietnam for four years. At the age of 24, he was invited to work with a team of diplomats inside the administration of President Lyndon Johnson.
Holbrooke, 67, has also served as Peace Corps director in Morocco, worked at prominent Wall Street firms and authored two books. The only person to have held the position of assistant secretary of state in two different regions of the world, Holbrooke has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize seven times.
"As a Brown community, we should all be very proud that one of our alumni and professors has been named to such an important position by the Obama administration," said Geoffrey Kirkman '91, deputy director of the Watson Institute.
Though "issues faced in Afghanistan and Pakistan are tremendously difficult," Kirkman said, Holbrooke is a "seasoned and tough diplomat."
"Students who have gotten to know Ambassador Holbrooke over the past year should revisit and cherish the things they learned from him," Kirkman added.
Kirkman was unable to say whether Holbrooke would continue to hold his post at the Watson Institute.