Richard N. Haass

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This article is about the American diplomat. For the American artist, see Richard Haas.
Richard Haass
U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland
In office
President George W. Bush
Preceded by George J. Mitchell
Succeeded by Mitchell B. Reiss
Personal details
Born Richard Nathan Haass
(1951-07-28) July 28, 1951 (age 63)
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Citizenship United States
Spouse(s) Susan Mercandetti (m.1990)
Children 2
Residence Washington D.C. area
Alma mater Oberlin College, B.A.
Oxford University, DPhil
Known for President of the Council on Foreign Relations
Religion Judaism
Awards State Department's Distinguished Service Award

Richard Nathan Haass (born July 28, 1951) is an American diplomat. He has been president of the Council on Foreign Relations since July 2003, prior to which he was Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State and a close advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell. The Senate approved Haass as a candidate for the position of ambassador and he has been U.S. Coordinator for the Future of Afghanistan. He succeeded George J. Mitchell as the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland to help the peace process in Northern Ireland, for which he received the State Department's Distinguished Service Award. At the end of 2003, Mitchell Reiss succeeded him as special envoy. In late 2013, Haass returned to Northern Ireland to chair inter-party talks aimed at addressing some of the unresolved issues from the peace process such as parades, flags and "the past".[1]

Life and career[edit]

Haass was born in Brooklyn, to Jewish parents, the son of Marcella (née Rosenthal) and Irving B. Haass.[2][3] From 1989 to 1993, Haass was Special Assistant to United States President George H. W. Bush and National Security Council Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs. In 1991, Haass received the Presidential Citizens Medal for helping to develop and explain U.S. policy during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Previously, he served in various posts in the Department of State (1981–85) and the Department of Defense (1979–80).

Haass's other postings include Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, the Sol M. Linowitz Visiting Professor of International Studies at Hamilton College, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and a research associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. A Rhodes Scholar, Haass obtained a B.A. from Oberlin College in 1973 and went on to earn both a Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University.[4]

Throughout the 2008 Presidential campaign, Haass advised several members of both the Republican Party and Democratic Party on issues regarding foreign policy, but did not publicly endorse a candidate due to the Council on Foreign Relations' non-partisan stance.[5]

In September 2013, Haass returned to Northern Ireland, with Professor Meghan O'Sullivan, to chair all party talks on flags, parades and the legacy of the Troubles, after violence flared over the removal of the union flag at Belfast City Hall. The talks broke up without reaching an agreement on December 31, 2013.[1]

Haass is the author of 12 books, of which 11 deal with matters of foreign policy and one with management. He lives in New York City with his wife, Susan Mercandetti,[6] and two children.



  1. ^ a b "Haass Talks". BBC News. January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2014. 
  2. ^ The Reluctant Sheriff: The United States After the Cold War - Richard Haass - Google Books. 1997. ISBN 9780876091982. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  3. ^ Published: November 09, 1999 (1999-11-09). "Paid Notice: Deaths HAASS, IRVING B. - New York Times". Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  4. ^ "Richard N. Haass biography". council on foreign Retrieved January 8, 2014. 
  5. ^ Richard N. Haass - Council on Foreign Relations
  6. ^ Published: November 18, 1990 (1990-11-18). "Richard Haass, Assistant to President, Weds Ms. Mercandetti, TV Producer - New York Times". Retrieved 2014-01-08. 

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