The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination held a Crisis Diplomacy lunch seminar on Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. in 012 Bendheim Hall. Ambassador Frank G. Wisner ('61), Foreign Affairs Advisor for Patton Boggs, was the featured speaker.
Ambassador Wisner’s diplomatic career spans four decades and eight American presidents. He served as ambassador to Zambia, Egypt, the Philippines, and India during his extensive career in the State Department. In addition to his role as ambassador to four countries, he has served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and as Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs. Wisner was senior Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs from 1982 to 1986, a time of intense diplomatic engagement in Southern Africa.
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 won independence from France. He then went to Vietnam, where he spent four years at the apex of the war. Wisner worked as a senior diplomat in Tunisia and Bangladesh before returning to Washington as Director of Plans and Management in the Bureau of Public Affairs. He joined the President’s Interagency Task Force on Indochina, the entity responsible for evacuating and settling nearly one million refugees and served as its Deputy Director. Later, as Director of the Office of Southern African Affairs, Frank Wisner 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 January 2011, he was sent to Egypt by President Barack Obama to negotiate a resolution to the popular protests against the regime that have swept the country.
Before joining Patton Boggs in his current role as Foreign Affairs Advisor, Wisner served as Vice Chairman of External Affairs for American International Group.