skip to Main Content
Photo: Squire Patton Boggs

Former US Ambassador to Zambia, Egypt, Philippines, and India; International Affairs Advisor, Squire Patton Boggs, Washington, DC

Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Visitor - Class of Spring 2014

Ambassador Frank G. Wisner’s diplomatic career spans four decades and eight American presidents. During his extensive career in the United States Department of State, he has served as ambassador to Zambia, Egypt, the Philippines, and India.


After graduating from Princeton University, in 1961, Wisner joined the State Department as a foreign service officer. His first post was in Algiers, immediately after it had won independence from France. He then went to Vietnam, where he spent four years at the apex of the war, and then to Tunisia and Bangladesh, as a senior diplomat, before returning to Washington, DC, to the post of Director of Plans and Management in the Bureau of Public Affairs. In Washington, he became the deputy director of the President’s Interagency Task Force on Indochina, the entity responsible for evacuating and settling nearly one million refugees.


Ambassador Wisner served as undersecretary of defense for policy, under President Bill Clinton (1993-1994), and as under secretary of state for international security affairs, under President George H.W. Bush (1992-1993). He was the deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs, from 1982 to 1986, a time of intense diplomatic engagement in Southern Africa, and the director of the Office of Southern African Affairs, where he worked closely with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to launch negotiations with Zimbabwe and Namibia. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appointed Ambassador Wisner as the nation’s special representative to the Kosovo Status Talks in 2005, where he played a crucial role in negotiating Kosovo’s independence.


In private practice, Wisner served as Vice Chairman of External Affairs for American International Group, and he is currently a foreign affairs advisor at the law firm Squire Patton Boggs, which provides clients with strategic global advice concerning business, politics, and international law from their Washington and New York offices. Ambassador Wisner has played a pivotal role at the firm, leveraging his vast experience in the Middle East, India, Europe, and Asia to assist the firm’s domestic and international clients.


Ambassador Wisner is the son of Frank Gardiner Wisner (1909-1965), the head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner to the Central Intelligence Ageny (CIA), where he served as head of the Office of Policy Coordination and then of Directorate of Plans in the 1950s.

Back To Top