Paula Dobriansky

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Paula Dobriansky
United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland
In office
February 15, 2007 – January 20, 2009
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byMitchell Reiss
Succeeded byDeclan Kelly
Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs
In office
May 1, 2001 – January 20, 2009
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byFrank E. Loy
Succeeded byMaria Otero
Personal details
Born (1955-09-14) September 14, 1955 (age 64)
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationGeorgetown University (BS)
Harvard University (MA, PhD)

Paula Jon Dobriansky (born September 14, 1955) is an American foreign policy expert who has served in key senior roles as a diplomat and policy maker in the administrations of five U.S. presidents. She is a specialist in the areas of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, trans-Atlantic relations, and in political-military affairs. She served as Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs from 2001–2009 and from 2007-2009, she was appointed simultaneously the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. Dobriansky is a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.[1] and is Vice Chairman of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security Advisory Council, the Atlantic Council. On April 25, 2018, it was reported by U.S. media that President Donald Trump intends to nominate her for the position of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.[2]


Dobriansky graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and earned her master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University in political-military affairs. She is a Fulbright-Hays scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Her late Ukrainian-American father, Lev Dobriansky, was a professor of economics and prominent anti-communist activist who initiated the Captive Nations Week during the Eisenhower Administration.[3]

Current role[edit]

Since March 4, 2009, Dobriansky has served as a Senior Fellow at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.[4] Dobriansky is also a co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center's commission on stabilizing fragile states. She also serves as an Advisory Board member for the Partnership for a Secure America.

In January 2010, Dobriansky served as the Class of 1960 Distinguished Visiting Professor in National Security at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Since 2011, Dobriansky has served on the Leadership Council for Concordia, a nonpartisan, nonprofit based in New York City focused on promoting effective public-private collaboration to create a more prosperous and sustainable future. She also serves on the advisory board for non-profit group America Abroad Media.[5] and for IDS International, providing the company with guidance on strategy and operations.

She is also currently a member of the Atlantic Council[6]'s Board of Directors and a Member of the Board of Advisors for the Global Panel Foundation, an NGO that works behind the scenes in crisis areas around the world.[7]

Career highlights[edit]

During her most recent term at the State Department, for which she was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Dobriansky presided over an expanded portfolio of responsibilities as Under Secretary for Global Affairs where she led efforts across a range of activities from democracy and human rights and labor to refugee and human trafficking issues to oceans and science, health, climate change. During this period, she vigorously encouraged public-private partnerships including, notably, the U.S.-Afghan Women's Alliance and a voluntary government-industry initiative deriving from the Global Internet Freedom Task Force (GIFT). Also during this period she served as the Administration's Special Coordinator for Tibet and Presidential Envoy to the Northern Ireland Peace Process for which she received the Secretary's Distinguished Service Medal, the State Department's highest honor [2].

In previous administrations, Dobriansky served as Director of European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council, Deputy Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 1990 Copenhagen Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs and Associate Director for Policy and Programs at the United States Information Agency. Former President Bill Clinton appointed her to serve on the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. She also served as a Senior Vice-President and Washington Office Director for the Council on Foreign Relations, where she was the George F. Kennan senior fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies.

Over the course of her career, Dobriansky has received high-level recognitions and orders of merit from the governments of Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Ukraine and Romania. She is the recipient of four honorary doctoral degrees.

Dobriansky serves on the Board of Directors for the Washington D.C.-based human rights organization, the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.[8]

Climate change[edit]

2009 Copenhagen Conference of Parties.

In an article published in the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies' Survival journal, Dobriansky joined forces with a leading scientist at the American Association for the Advancement of Science to urge creative thinking about the "Many Paths Forward" beyond the recently concluded Copenhagen Conference of Parties on climate change. She and Vaughan Turekian point out that "given the important role that deforestration plays in producing the greenhouse effect, government and NGO-led programs that reduce forest loss are key to a global climate change strategy."[9]

2007 Bali Conference of Parties.

In 2007 in Bali, she was an architect of the 'Bali Roadmap' that established a pragmatic, consensus-driven approach to moving forward towards a new climate treaty.[10] In December 2007 9000 delegates from 187 countries arrived in Bali, Indonesia for the UN Climate Change Conference. Diplomats and scientists were convening to try to strike a new global climate treaty. In her closing statement, Dobriansky said, "The global community has worked together to put into place a good set of elements in the Bali Roadmap on mitigation, adaptation, technology, and finance to guide important considerations toward agreement in 2009 in Copenhagen. It is important that our work be guided by the latest science laid out in the IPCC 4th assessment report. We have taken a first step in Bali in beginning an important discussion about how to achieve a truly global solution. This is a new chapter in climate diplomacy. We are committed to working hard over the next two years to ensure that we implement today's decision in a way that achieves this end. That effort begins today." [11]


  1. ^ "Paula J. Dobriansky". Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Anti-communist Lev Dobriansky dead at 89". The Washington Times. 5 February 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  4. ^ Belfer Center Press Release 3 March 2009 (accessed 20 March 2009).
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-16. Retrieved 2014-06-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Board of Directors". Atlantic Council. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-10-03. Retrieved 2014-09-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea; Board of Directors
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ Agreement Reached on the Bali Roadmap
  11. ^ Closing Statement at the Conference of the Parties, Dr. Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs and Head of United States Delegation

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Frank E. Loy
Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs
Succeeded by
Maria Otero
Preceded by
Mitchell Reiss
United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
Declan Kelly