Story posted April 22, 2009
The Senate confirmed Christopher Hill '74 to be the next U.S. ambassador to Iraq.
The 73-23 vote on April 21, 2009, puts Hill in charge of the largest U.S. embassy in the world.
In an in-depth and wide-ranging interview, Hill spoke at length with Bowdoin magazine about friendly persuasion, Whiffle golf and knowing when to pound the table.
He also speaks of what it's like to negotiate on behalf of a U.S. government that, in the past, has not always been willing to talk with its enemies.
"We need an ambassador in Iraq, we need this ambassador in Iraq," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"Ambassador Hill is a proven, expert negotiator, a problem-solver and he is one of the best diplomats we have."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Hill's confirmation was long overdue and that he would help bring the U.S. closer to achieving a political solution to Iraq's troubles.
Hill, he added, "has successfully tackled some of the most complex diplomatic challenges in the world, and both America and Iraq will benefit from his experience and expertise."
When first announcing the nomination February 27, 2009, at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, President Obama said Hill has shown the "pragmatism and skill" that is needed now in Iraq.
Hill is a career foreign service officer who served as Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Bush administration.
He led the U.S. delegation to the 2007 six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue.
Hill earlier served as a negotiator in the crises in Bosnia and Kosovo.
In January, Obama chose former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell '54 to serve as Special Envoy to the Middle East.
Mitchell and Hill join former Ambassador Thomas Pickering '53 and former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen '62 in exemplifying the culture of leadership and diplomacy that is cultivated at the College.