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 State Department official. Among other roles he served as US Ambassador to Thailand 1978 to 1981, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research 1985 to 1989, and US Ambassador to Turkey 1989 to 1991.[1] After retiring from the State Department in 1991, his roles have included the Presidency of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1991 to 1997).

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


Abramowitz was born to a Jewish family, in Lakewood Township, New Jersey on January 20, 1933. He was educated at Stanford University, receiving a B.A. (in history and economics[2]) in 1953.[3] He then attended Harvard University, earning an M.A. in 1955.[3]

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

Foreign Service career[edit]

In 1959, he joined the United States Department of State as a program analyst posted in Taipei. From 1960 to 1962, he was Consular-Economic Officer in Taipei. He was then posted as a political officer in Hong Kong from 1963 to 1966.

He also has served as assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research; United States ambassador to the Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction Negotiations in Vienna; ambassador to Thailand; deputy assistant secretary of defense for inter-American, East Asian, and Pacific affairs; special assistant to the secretary of defense; special assistant to the deputy secretary of state; and political adviser to the commander-in-chief, Pacific.[4]

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.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan named Abramowitz U.S. Ambassador to the Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions talks in Vienna.[3]

President Reagan nominated Abramowitz as Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research in 1985, 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.[5]

Post-retirement activities[edit]

Abramowitz retired from government service in 1991, to become the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995.[6] He retired from that position in 1997. Since then, he has been a Senior Fellow of The Century Foundation[7] and a director of the National Endowment for Democracy.

He is a long-time board member of the International Rescue Committee.[8]

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

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 is a former reporter and editor at the Washington Post and today heads the Committee on Conscience of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is married to Susan Baer, formerly a journalist 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.




  1. ^ US State Dept, Morton Isaac Abramowitz (1933-)
  2. ^ Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (2009), Interview with Ambassador Morton I.Abramowitz
  3. ^ 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)."
  4. ^ Abramowitz, Morton. "Morton Abramowitz". Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Ann Devroy; John E. Yang; Kenneth J. Cooper (15 May 1990). "Two Named Career Ambassadors". Washington Post. p. a.21. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  7. ^ The Century Foundation, Morton Abramowitz – Senior Fellow
  8. ^ International Rescue Committee, Board and Overseers
  9. ^ a b National Endowment for Democracy, June 18, 2007, 2007 Democracy Service Medal
  10. ^ 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