Chester A. Crocker is a CIGI distinguished fellow, effective May 2014. He is currently leading a project that examines Africa’s regional conflict management capacity and gaps.
Chester is the James R. Schlesinger professor of strategic studies at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and serves on the board of its Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. His teaching and research focus on international security, conflict management and mediation.
From 1981 to 1989, Chester served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. He developed the strategy and led the diplomacy that produced the treaties signed by Angola, Cuba, and South Africa in New York in December 1988. These agreements resulted in Namibia’s independence (March 1990) and the withdrawal of foreign forces from Namibia and Angola.
Chester chaired the board of the United States Institute of Peace (1992-2004) and continued through 2011 to serve as a board member of this independent, nonpartisan institution created and funded by Congress to strengthen knowledge and practice in international conflict. His post-government professional engagements include service as a mediation adviser in United Nations and State Department-sponsored initiatives on the Western Sahara, Kosovo, the Philippines and Syria. He chairs the board of G3 Good Governance Group Ltd., a London-based strategic advisory firm. Chester is a founding member of the Global Leadership Foundation and member of the Independent Advisory Board of the World Bank. He consults as adviser on strategy and negotiation to a number of US and European firms.
Chester’s previous professional experience includes service as news editor of Africa Report magazine (1968-69) and staff officer at the National Security Council (1970-72), where he worked on Middle East, Indian Ocean and African issues. He first joined Georgetown University as director of its master of science in foreign service program, serving concurrently as associate professor of international relations (1972-80). He served as director of African studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (1976-80).
Chester lectures and writes on international politics, US foreign policy, conflict management and security issues, the practice of mediation, and African affairs. He has appeared on numerous television shows, as a dinner or keynote speaker at conferences in the United States, Europe and Africa, and as a witness in Congressional hearings. His book High Noon in Southern Africa: Making Peace in a Rough Neighborhood was published by Norton in 1993. He is the co-author Taming Intractable Conflicts: Mediation in the Hardest Cases (2004) and co-editor (with Fen O. Hampson and Pamela Aall) of Conflict Management in a World Adrift (forthcoming 2014), Rewiring Regional Security in a Fragmented World (2011), Leashing the Dogs of War: Conflict Management in a Divided World (2007), Grasping the Nettle: Analyzing Cases of Intractable Conflict (2004), Turbulent Peace: The Challenges of Managing International Conflict (2001), Herding Cats: Multiparty Mediation in a Complex World (1999) and Managing Global Chaos: Sources of and Responses to International Conflict (1996).
Born in New York City in 1941, Chester received a B.A. degree from Ohio State University (1963), graduating Phi Beta Kappa, with distinction in history. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, The International Institute of Strategic Studies, and the American Academy of Diplomacy. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Saone. They have three daughters and eight grandchildren.