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"As the President’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2009, Richard was trying to bring stability to a region fraught with problems that seemed more insurmountable as time went by. But Richard was not adverse to complex challenges and horrendous hurdles. In 1995, using a combination of sheer will, true grit and negotiating savvy, he brokered the Dayton Peace Accords –- the hallmark of his work as one of our country’s top diplomats." (read more)
"I was fortunate enough to have been a friend of Richard Holbrooke. In 1998 he changed my life when he introduced me to Refugees International. His life was dedicated to saving lives and bringing peace to the world. He brought the best out in people. When I was with Richard I felt stronger, smarter and more capable. He was bigger than life but his feet were firmly planted on the ground. He will be missed. "
"Throughout our 30-year-plus friendship, I watched him offend thin skinned diplomats and political leaders but – nearly always – get results. He was a towering figure in his generation of American diplomats. He could not have been a European or Soviet diplomat. Only an American could have got away with it." (read more)
"There was no finer foreign policy mind in our generation in the United States than Richard Holbrooke, nobody better able to deliver the goods, nobody better able to build a team of loyal people around it, nobody who believed more deep the profession of foreign affairs than Dick Holbrooke."
"Richard Holbrooke was a very persuasive man. In 1999 as an active member of the board of Refugees International, I was on my airplane headed for a brief vacation to Arizona when the steward alerted me to an “urgent” phone call that the pilots received. Dick was attempting to reach me – again -- to convince me to take over as Chairman of RI. He had just been appointed US Ambassador to the UN. I was not too happy with Dick’s relentless badgering, and made a point of telling him so during our conversation. At that moment, the plane hit a wind shear and we began to nosedive. I could see the Tucson tumbleweeds on the ground getting closer and closer to us. Finally, the pilots were able to gain control of the aircraft, and at that moment I realized that Dick had more powerful friends than I had ever imagined. I immediately accepted the position. Dick Holbrooke laid the foundation for what became a meaningful organization, which I am certain, will rise to new heights in the future. His legacy will endure."
"A person is known by the precedent he or she leaves behind. Richard Holbrooke was passionate about whatever he undertook – whether small projects or working to bring peace to major international conflicts. I joined the RI Board about twelve years back and Richard was our chairman. I came to know and appreciate his style. I would call him an entrepreneurial diplomat. He was a doer. Later I had the privilege of chairing the RI Board for six years and Richard was a Board member and was always ready to give his time to many challenges facing refugees and persons displaced through conflicts.
"His 'entrepreneurial' style of diplomacy was unique. While he appreciated the process, he was eager for results. I had the opportunity to engage with him on many issues arising out of conflicts – and especially his last assignment – to bring peace with dignity to the Pakistan-Afghanistan region. We will miss him. He has left a precedent for all of us to follow."
"The world has lost a master strategist who effectively championed peace and never lost sight of the people he was working for. An increased commitment by the Obama Administration to humanitarian programs and strengthened civilian leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan would be a fitting tribute to his legacy." (read more)
"Dick was a presence. When he walked into a room, even when he wasn’t speaking, everyone knew he was there. He had unbelievable energy -- no nonsense -- come in, act and then out again. He was peripatetic. When I close my eyes, I see his vitality and I smile."
"Richard could be rough on colleagues and friends -- of which I was both -- but at the end of the day, I have worked with no one else who has had the same life-saving impact as Richard." (read more)
December 17, 2010 | Tagged as: Richard Holbrooke