The Washington College community mourns the passing of Richard Holbrooke, the veteran American diplomat who received the College’s honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, in February 2002.
Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and to Germany, and former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs, was the chief architect of the 1995 Dayton peace accord that ended the war in Bosnia. In recognition of his efforts, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Price. He later served as President Clinton’s special envoy to the Balkans during the crisis in Kosovo.
In presenting the degree at George Washington’s Birthday Convocation, College President John S. Toll applauded Holbrooke’s skills as a problem-solver and recognized his “no-nonsense style in dealing with some of the toughest issues and the most volatile situations in the world.”
One of our most brilliant and experienced diplomats, Richard C. Holbrooke brought peace to the Balkans and played a pivotal role in the war for Kosovo. As the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, he brokered the deal that resolved the delicate issue of America’s back dues and restored our good standing. In his no-nonsense style, he has dealt with some of the toughest issues and the most volatile situations in the world. Now, as the joint leader of the Council on Foreign Relations’ high-powered task force on terrorism and as president of the Global Business Council on HIV/AIDS, the former ambassador is bringing his expertise to bear on two of the gravest threats humanity faces today.
The American people have great faith that Richard Holbrooke will prevail: he has been hailed by The New York Times as “a master of impossible missions.” The secret of his success as a problem-solver lies in his vast experience in government and in his keen knowledge of the business world. He understands the importance of corporate partners in effecting real social and political change.
In recognition of his immense contributions in the field of diplomacy, his accomplishments as a peacemaker, and his advocacy for the victims of war and disease, Washington College is pleased to present to Richard C. Holbrooke the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws.