Richard Holbrooke (SHS 1958)

Former Ambassador to the United Nations

At Scarsdale High School, Richard Holbrooke was an active member of the Forum, debating world issues.  That same interest took him to Brown University and then, after graduating with a BA in 1962, into the U.S. Foreign Service.  There he was assigned to Vietnam where he served as the staff assistant to Maxwell Taylor and Henry Cabot Lodge.  In 1966 he returned to the U.S. where he was on the White House Vietnam staff of President Lyndon Johnson, was the junior member of the American delegation to the Paris peace talks, and wrote one volume of the Pentagon Papers.

In the 1970's and 1980's Ambassador Holbrooke was Managing Editor of Foreign Policy, contributing editor to Newsweek, and Managing Director of Lehman Brothers. In 1977 President Carter appointed him Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.  In 1993 President Clinton appointed him U.S. Ambassador to Germany and the next year Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs.  The latter appointment made him the only person to have held Assistant Secretary of State positions in two different regions of the world. 

In 1995 Holbrooke led the American team that negotiated the Bosnian Peace Accords at Dayton that ended the war in Bosnia.  For his efforts, Holbrooke was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.   In 1998, President Clinton nominated him as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.  Holbrooke served in that position from 1999-2001.  In October 2002, he became Chairman of the Asia Society.