Photo: Annette Hornischer

Richard C. Holbrooke (1941-2010) is the founder of the American Academy in Berlin.

Prior to his last assignment, as Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan under President Barack Obama, Holbrooke was the vice chairman of Perseus, a leading private equity firm. He previously served as the United States ambassador to the United Nations, where he was also a member of President Clinton’s cabinet.

As assistant secretary of state for Europe from 1994 to 1996, Holbrooke was the chief architect of the 1995 Dayton peace agreement that ended the war in Bosnia. He later served as President Clinton’s special envoy to Bosnia and Kosovo, and special envoy to Cyprus. From 1993 to 1994, he was the US ambassador to Germany.

During the Carter administration, from 1977 to 1981, Holbrooke served as assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs and was in charge of US relations with China at the time that Sino-American relations were normalized, in December 1978.

After joining the Foreign Service, in 1962, Holbrooke served in Vietnam, from 1963 to 1966, which included a tour of duty in the Mekong Delta for AID. He consulted on Vietnam War during the Johnson administration, during which time he wrote one volume of the Pentagon Papers, and was a member of the American delegation to the Vietnam Peace Talks in Paris in the late 1960s.

Ambassador Holbrooke was also Peace Corps director in Morocco from 1970 to 1972, managing editor of Foreign Policy, and held senior positions at two leading Wall Street firms, Credit Suisse First Boston and Lehman Brothers. He wrote numerous articles and two bestselling books: To End a War, a memoir of the Dayton negotiations; and Counsel to the President, co-authored with Clark Clifford. He received twenty honorary degrees and numerous awards, including several Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

In addition to founding the American Academy in Berlin, he was also president and CEO of the Global Business Coalition, the business alliance against HIV/AIDS, and chairman of the Asia Society. Corporate board memberships included the American International Group and Quebecor World. NGO board memberships include the American Museum of Natural History, National Endowment for Democracy, Africa-America Institute, Citizens Committee for New York City, Council on Foreign Relations, and Refugees International. Ambassador Holbrooke was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.