As part of our “50 Weeks to 50th Years” series, we remember a dedicated leader in the development and diplomacy community – the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.  He began his career in international development in Vietnam and was an instrumental figure in ending violence in Bosnia. His recent, critical work in countering and ending violent conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan will have a lasting impact. USAID mourns the loss of this tremendous public servant.

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On behalf of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) team, thank you to the thousands of friends, around the world and in the United States, who have reached out to express their heartfelt condolences over Ambassador Holbrooke’s passing. He inspired the deepest loyalty and love in those who worked for him and with him.

The late Ambassador Holbrooke started his career with USAID in Afghanistan. Photo Credit: U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan

Ambassador Holbrooke epitomized great diplomacy: loving his country and its values, and using every tool at his disposal to solve problems and improve lives. “Diplomacy is like jazz,” he liked to say, “improvisation on a theme.” Over the course of his career, his diplomatic efforts have touched nearly every country in the world. As Secretary Clinton noted shortly after his passing: “…From his early days in Vietnam to his historic role bringing peace to the Balkans to his last mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Holbrooke helped shape our history, manage our perilous present, and secure our future.”

All of us that he touched mourn this loss. But we are also mindful that his critical work — making the world a safer, more peaceful place — must continue, as he would have wanted most of all. Ambassador Holbrooke was a man who stared down adversity, and chaos, and never faltered. The important mission that guides our work remains. We will carry forward his legacy, and we will not falter either.

For those who would like to submit a personal message of condolence, please use the following email address: