James B. Cunningham
Nonresident Senior Fellow, South Asia Center
TopicsDemocracy, Development, European Security, NATO and its Partners, Terrorism, United Nations
RegionsAfghanistan, China, Europe, Hong Kong, Israel, Macau, Middle East
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March 21, 2019In a departure from longstanding US policy, US President Donald J. Trump on March 21 tweeted that it was time the United States recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau Israel captured from Syria in 1967. While…
March 04, 2019The closure of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem—the de facto US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority—marks the end of an era. The maintenance of a distinct diplomatic representation to the Palestinians, symbolically and practically independent of the US ambassador…
January 17, 2019January 20 marks two years since US President Donald J. Trump took office. We take a look back at some of the big foreign policy headlines made by the president and his administration over these past two years.
December 11, 2018Read the Publication (PDF)Over one year after the announcement of the Trump administration’s strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia, significant opportunity remains to improve efforts to achieve peace. In the Atlantic Council South Asia Center’s new report, Review of President Trump’s…
November 12, 2018A new round of violence has erupted in the Gaza Strip following an Israeli military raid on November 11 that killed a local Hamas commander. The undercover military operation by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) took place in the Gaza…
After early tours in Stockholm, Washington, Rome, and the US Mission to NATO, NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner selected Ambassador Cunningham as his chief of staff (1988 – 1990). He advised the Secretary General on all NATO issues in the context of nuclear disarmament in Europe, the collapse of the Berlin wall and the reunification of Germany, and the impending dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.
Just after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Ambassador Cunningham became deputy political counselor at the US Mission to the United Nations. In 1992, he became the deputy director of the State Department Office of European Security and Political Affairs (1992 – 1993) and then director (1993 – 1995). He served as deputy chief of mission at the Embassy in Rome (1996 – 1999).
Ambassador Cunningham was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University with degrees in political science and psychology. He is married to Leslie Genier of Mineville, New York. They have two daughters. Ambassador Cunningham is the recipient of multiple awards from the State Department, the National Performance Review's Hammer Award for Innovation in Management, the US President's Meritorious Service Award (twice), and has received awards from the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Secretary of Defense, the Afghan government, and Syracuse University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and The Asia Society.Ambassador Cunningham retired from government service in December 2014 with the rank of career minister.