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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

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Former U.S. Ambassador Daniel Fried Former U.S. Ambassador Daniel Fried

Longtime Diplomat, Expert on Central Europe to Speak at SDSU

Former Ambassador Daniel Fried, one of the architects of U.S. policy in Poland during its transformation from communism to democracy, will speak Nov. 12.
By Jeff Ristine

Former ambassador Daniel Fried, whose 40 years as a Foreign Service officer included a major role in developing the West’s response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, will speak at San Diego State University on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Fried’s visit for the President’s Lecture Series, held in conjunction with the Charles W. Hostler Institute on World Affairs, comes at a peak time of interest in U.S. diplomacy. His background as a seasoned diplomat, serving in high-ranking positions both in Republican and Democratic administrations, has made Fried a sought-after source for perspectives on the current impeachment inquiry into the Trump Administration’s contacts with Ukraine.

Fried’s lecture marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent liberation of Central Europe from its domination by the Soviet Union. Fried said his talk places the events in the context of America’s rise to world leadership in the 20th century.

The lecture will be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Nov. 12, in the Fowler Family Ballroom of the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center. It is free and open to the public, but registration is requested.

The Charles W. Hostler Institute on World Affairs, housed in the Fowler College of Business, was founded in 1942 to inform students, faculty, and the wider public on global affairs. It was renamed in honor of an endowment from Charles W. Hostler, former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, and his wife, Chinyeh. Charles Hostler passed away in 2014.

Chinyeh Hostler pledged a significant planned gift to the Charles W. Hostler Institute on World Affairs in October to further honor and recognize her late husband and his legacy. The gift is intended to expand the work of the Hostler Institute, and to promote peace through broad-based dialogue.

Currently, Fried is a fellow with the Washington, D.C.-based Atlantic Council, which identifies him as the U.S.’s longest-serving diplomat. 

Beginning in 1977 with the Economic Bureau of the U.S. State Department, Fried served in four presidential administrations: George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. His early posts included the U.S. Consulate-General in then-Leningrad (1980-81), the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade (1982-85) and the Office of Soviet Affairs (1985-87).

Fried was a prime figure in developing the first Bush Administration’s response to the transition from communist Poland to a free Poland, a precursor to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the transformation of Central Europe.

In March 1989, Bush aide Condoleezza Rice—a future Secretary of State who then served on Bush’s National Security Council staff—asked for Fried’s help in drafting remarks for the president on the possibility of an agreement between the Communist authorities and the Solidarity labor movement.

Among his subsequent positions, Fried was U.S. Ambassador to Poland from November 1997 to May 2000 and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council from January 2001 to May 2005.

During the Obama Administration, Fried helped lead the West’s response to Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine in 2014, and coordinated U.S. sanctions policy.

He retired in 2017 after serving in a special envoy position for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.