Morton I. Abramowitz

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Morton I. Abramowitz
United States Ambassador to Turkey
In office
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Robert Strausz-Hupe
Succeeded by Richard Clark Barkley
United States Ambassador to Thailand
In office
June 27, 1978 – July 31, 1981
President Jimmy Carter
Preceded by Charles S. Whitehouse
Succeeded by John Gunther Dean
Personal details
Born (1933-01-20) January 20, 1933 (age 84)
Lakewood Township, New Jersey, U.S.
Spouse(s) Sheppie Glass Abramowitz
Profession Career FSO

Morton Isaac Abramowitz (born January 20, 1933) is an American diplomat and former U.S. State Department official. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Thailand and Turkey and as the Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research. He retired from the State Department with the rank of Career Ambassador. He then became president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and founded the International Crisis Group.

Abramowitz currently serves as co-chair for the Bipartisan Policy Center's Turkey Initiative.

Early life[edit]

Abramowitz was born in Lakewood Township, New Jersey, on January 20, 1933. He received his B.A. from Stanford University (in history and economics[1]) in 1953.[2] He then attended Harvard University, earning an M.A. in 1955.[2]

He also served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserves from 1958 to 1961.

In 1956, Abramowitz joined the United States Department of Labor as a management intern and, then, as a labor economist from 1957-58, while waiting for an appointment at the Department of State.

Career in the Foreign Service[edit]

In 1959, he joined the United States Department of State. His first two assignments were as a consular-economic officer in Taipei (1960-1962) and a economic officer in Hong Kong (1963-1966).

He returned to Washington in 1966, spending the next seven years there in various capacities, including serving as special assistant to Under Secretary Elliot Richardson.

From 1973 to 1978, he was political adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Command (1973-1974) and then deputy assistant secretary of Defense for international affairs (1974-1978).

In 1978, President of the United States Jimmy Carter named Abramowitz United States Ambassador to Thailand, and he held this post from August 9, 1978 until July 31, 1981.[3]

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan named Abramowitz as the U.S. representative to the Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction Negotiations in Vienna, with ambassadorial rank[2]

In 1985, President Reagan nominated Abramowitz as Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and Abramowitz held this office from February 1, 1985 through May 19, 1989 (with the name of the office changing to Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research in 1986).

In 1989, President George H. W. Bush named Abramowitz United States Ambassador to Turkey, a post he held until 1991.

In 1990, he was awarded the rank of Career Ambassador.[4]

Post Government career[edit]

Abramowitz retired from government service in 1991 and took over as president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995.[5] He retired from that position in 1997. Since then, he has been a Senior Fellow of The Century Foundation[6] and a director of the National Endowment for Democracy.

He is a long-time board member of the International Rescue Committee.[7]

Abramowitz played a leading role in the foundation of the International Crisis Group, and has been a board member since its inception in 1995.[8]

Abramowitz served for nine years on the board of the National Endowment for Democracy, and on retirement in 2007 was awarded its Democracy Service Medal.[9]


Abramowitz is married to Sheppie Glass Abramowitz, the sister of composer Philip Glass. Sheppie Abramowitz spent her career advocating on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers for the International Rescue Committee and KIND (Kids in Need of Defense). The couple have two adult children. Michael Abramowitz, the president of Freedom House, is a former reporter and editor at the Washington Post and headed the Committee on Conscience of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.[10] He is married to Susan Baer, a former reporter at the Baltimore Sun. Daughter Rachel Abramowitz had a successful career as an entertainment reporter for the Los Angeles Times before embarking on a second career writing scripts for cable television pilots with her husband, screenwriter and director ("Wonderful World") Joshua Goldin.


in 1980, and the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Service in 1981, 1985, and 1988. He also was awarded the National Intelligence Medal in 1989, the Director General’s Cup of the Foreign Service in 1995, and the Award for Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy of the American Foreign Service Association.



  1. ^ Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (2009), Interview with Ambassador Morton I.Abramowitz
  2. ^ a b c "Nomination of Morton Isaac Abramowitz To Be United States Ambassador to Turkey", American Presidency Project, April 19, 1989. Accessed February 9, 2011. "Ambassador Abramowitz was born January 20, 1933, in Lakewood, NJ. He graduated from Stanford University (B.A., 1953) and Harvard University (M.A., 1955)."
  3. ^ "Conscience and Catastrophe". New Republic. Retrieved 2017-10-03. 
  4. ^ Ann Devroy; John E. Yang; Kenneth J. Cooper (15 May 1990). "Two Named Career Ambassadors". Washington Post. p. a.21. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  6. ^ The Century Foundation, Morton Abramowitz – Senior Fellow
  7. ^ International Rescue Committee, Board and Overseers
  8. ^ "The Lost American - A Hero Of Our Time | FRONTLINE | PBS". Retrieved 2017-10-03. 
  9. ^ a b National Endowment for Democracy, June 18, 2007, 2007 Democracy Service Medal
  10. ^ "Michael J. Abramowitz Named President of Freedom House". Retrieved 2017-10-03. 
  11. ^ a b c

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Charles S. Whitehouse
United States Ambassador to Thailand
August 9, 1978 – July 31, 1981
Succeeded by
John Gunther Dean
Government offices
Preceded by
Hugh Montgomery
Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research
February 1, 1985 – May 19, 1989
Succeeded by
Douglas P. Mulholland
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Robert Strausz-Hupé
United States Ambassador to Turkey
1989 – 1991
Succeeded by
Richard Clark Barkley