Daniel Fried

Distinguished Fellow, Future Europe Initiative and Eurasia Center

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Full Bio

In the course of his forty-year Foreign Service career, Ambassador Fried played a key role in designing and implementing American policy in Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union. As special assistant and NSC senior director for Presidents Clinton and Bush, ambassador to Poland, and assistant secretary of state for Europe (2005-09), Ambassador Fried crafted the policy of NATO enlargement to Central European nations and, in parallel, NATO-Russia relations, thus advancing the goal of Europe whole, free, and at peace. During those years, the West’s community of democracy and security grew in Europe. Ambassador Fried helped lead the West’s response to Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine starting in 2014: as State Department coordinator for sanctions policy, he crafted US sanctions against Russia, the largest US sanctions program to date, and negotiated the imposition of similar sanctions by Europe, Canada, Japan, and Australia.   

Ambassador Fried became one of the US government’s foremost experts on Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. While a student, he lived in Moscow, majored in Soviet studies and history at Cornell University (BA magna cum laude 1975), and received an MA from Columbia’s Russian Institute and School of International Affairs in 1977. He joined the US Foreign Service later that year, serving overseas in Leningrad (human rights, Baltic affairs, and consular officer), and Belgrade (political officer), and in the Office of Soviet Affairs in the State Department. 

As Polish desk officer in the late 1980s, Fried was one of the first in Washington to recognize the impending collapse of Communism in Poland, and helped develop the immediate response of the George H.W. Bush Administration to these developments. As political counselor at the US Embassy in Warsaw (1990-93), Fried witnessed Poland’s difficult but ultimately successful free market, democratic transformation, working with successive Polish governments.

Ambassador Fried also served as the State Department’s first special envoy for the closure of the Guantanamo (GTMO) Detainee Facility. He established procedures for the transfer of individual detainees and negotiated the transfers of seventy detainees to twenty countries, with improved security outcomes.   

Dan Fried has been married to Olga Karpiw since 1979; they have two children (Hannah and Sophie), and are the besotted grandparents of Ava Helen Fried Hanley.  

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