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In Memoriam: Richard Holbrooke, Peace Negotiator

December 14, 2010

Ambassador Richard Holbrooke is being remembered at Brown and around the world today for his wide-ranging diplomatic achievements, following his death yesterday at the age of 69. University President Ruth Simmons issued a statement last night mourning the loss of a man who was a commanding figure on the world stage but also an engaged member of the Brown community, as a graduate of the University’s class of ’62, former editor of the Brown Daily Herald, honorary Brown doctor of law, former member of the Watson Institute’s board of overseers, and most recently, Brown professor at large based at the Institute.

While a professor here, prior to assuming the role of US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Holbrooke focused his attention on students – holding study groups on such subjects as “Secrets of Diplomatic Styles” and urging students to get involved in the world around them. “You’ve got to get engaged and you mustn’t despair,” he said in a major lecture on campus in October 2007. “It’s your opportunity to participate and I urge you to do so.”

He also contributed his singular insight in collaboration with faculty members on such research activities as the Human Terrain documentary on US military strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq and on the book project for Blue Helmets, Black Markets: The Business of Survival in the Siege of Sarajevo.

Holbrooke, who is most recognized as the chief architect of the 1995 Dayton peace agreement that ended the war in Bosnia, “lived a life of courage, usefulness and reputation,” President Simmons said. “Though we will miss his presence and determination, his legacy will endure, inspiring generations to strive for peace.”