Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Richard Boucher

Richard Boucher

Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs


Richard Boucher is a senior US diplomat turned teacher. Over a thirty-two year career, he achieved the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service as Career Ambassador.

Richard’s career began in China at the start of economic reform; in his later career, he became the longest serving Spokesman in the history of the State Department, serving six Secretaries of State. From 2006 to 2009, he formulated U.S. policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as India and the broader region, as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia. Richard also served as U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus (1993-1996), Consul General in Hong Kong (1996-1999), and led U.S. efforts for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation as US Senior Official for APEC from 1999-2000.

After retiring from the State Department, Ambassador Boucher served four years as Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the international organization of 35 countries working together to analyze and coordinate economic policy. In this leadership role, he worked with the developing world, focusing on the major economies of China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa as well as newly reforming countries like Colombia, Tunisia and Myanmar.

Richard now teaches diplomacy and foreign policy to Brown University graduate and undergraduate students as a Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. He advises HSBC Bank/South Asia on stopping money laundering and financial crime. In addition to public speaking, he blogs at richardboucher.wordpress.com and as an expert at theCipherBrief.com .

Richard also serves on the board of The Mountain Institute (mountain.org), a non-profit that partners with mountain people to protect their environment and livelihood. He also participates in a US-Pakistan Track II dialogue.

Richard taught English as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal from 1973-1975. He obtained his Bachelor's degree from Tufts University and did graduate work in economics at the George Washington University. He is married to Carolyn Brehm, a business executive. They have two children, Madeleine and Peter. 


Blogs on current foreign policy issues at theCipherbrief.com.


MPA 2230 Skills for Future Diplomats

INTL1802V  Diplomacy and Economic Influence

PLCY2230   Skills for Future Diplomats

Talks & Media

In Afghanistan, Keep Your Eye on the Exit,  theCipherBrief.com, August 25, 2017
U.S. Launches China Trade Probe, a Sign of “Living in the Past”, theCipherBrief.com, August 17, 2017
Donald Trump Can Learn from Teddy Roosevelt’s “America First”, theCipherBrief.com, August 17, 2017
No One Makes Money by Betting Against Hong Kong, theCipherBrief.com, July 31, 2017
Pakistan, US in backchannel contact to resolve rift, GeoNews, August 25, 2017

News|Recent News

US envoy to UN Haley announces resignation (comments by Richard Boucher)

October 10, 2018 VOA

Senior Fellow Richard Boucher comments on Nikki Haley's resignation as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. "She has been unique in this administration, not because she's pushed a strong U.S. agenda, but in showing that to accomplish our goals we need to sit down with other countries and work in concert with allies and friendly countries."


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