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Richard Charles Holbrooke

Holbrooke, Richard Charles (hōlˈbrŏk) [key], 1941–2010, American diplomat, b. New York City, grad. Brown (B.A., 1962). Holbrooke joined the foreign service, worked on Vietnamese affairs for six years, and was (1968–69) on the American delegation to the Paris peace talks. He later edited (1972–76) Foreign Policy magazine, served (1977–81) as assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, and then worked as an investment banker.

In the Clinton administration, he was ambassador to Germany (1993–94) before returning to Washington to become assistant secretary of state for European and Canadian affairs (1994–95). As the lead negotiator for the 1995 Dayton Ageement, he secured a peace accord for Bosnia and Herzegovina (described in his book To End a War, 1998). After pursuing negotiations in Kosovo (1998–99), Holbrooke was (1999–2001) ambassador to the United Nations and then returned to investment banking.

Holbrooke later was foreign policy adviser to John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign and to Hillary Clinton while she was a senator and during her 2008 presidential bid. Intelligent, tenacious, independent, and sometimes combative and abrasive, Holbrooke was appointed (2009) special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan by President Obama, but died suddenly before he could complete his mission.

See D. Chollet and S. Power, ed., The Unquiet American (2011).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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