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University of Denver names U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Hill to lead one of the top international studies programs in the world

DENVER—Christopher Hill, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, has been chosen to lead the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel (Joseph core-BELL) School of International Studies, one of the top international studies schools in the world founded in 1964 by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s father. Hill’s appointment was announced today by DU Chancellor Robert Coombe.

Hill has served as the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq since 2009. He is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with more than 30 years of service whose prior assignment was Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.  He has also served as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. 

In April 2009, Foreign Policy magazine released a survey in its March–April issue that ranked the Josef Korbel School’s professional master’s program among the top-20 Ph.D., master’s and undergraduate programs in the world.  In the master’s listing, the school tied for 12th with Yale University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of California-San Diego, and it ranked ahead of schools such as Stanford University and the University of Pittsburgh.

“We are delighted that Ambassador Hill will be joining the DU community as the new dean of the Josef Korbel School,” says Chancellor Coombe. “If one considers his tremendous experience and great success as a Foreign Service officer and diplomat, it’s apparent that this is just the sort of career for which we are educating our students at the Korbel School. He’s going to be a great dean.”

In 2005, Hill was selected to lead the U.S. delegation to the Six-Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. Previously, he has served as U.S. Ambassador to Poland (2000-2004), Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia (1996-1999) and Special Envoy to Kosovo (1998-1999).  He also served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Southeast European Affairs in the National Security Council.

Earlier in his Foreign Service career, Ambassador Hill served tours in Belgrade, Warsaw, Seoul and Tirana, and on the State Department’s Policy Planning staff and in the Department’s Operation Center. While on a fellowship with the American Political Science Association he served as a staff member for Congressman Stephen Solarz working on Eastern European issues.  He also served as the State Department’s Senior Country Officer for Poland. 

Hill received the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award for his contributions as a member of the U.S. negotiating team in the Bosnia peace settlement and was a recipient of the Robert S. Frasure Award for Peace Negotiations for his work on the Kosovo crisis.  Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Hill served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon.

“I am delighted to be coming to the Korbel School this fall. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime to work with such talented faculty and staff and to do my part in providing the finest education possible for graduate and undergraduate students alike. I also look forward to being a member of the broader University of Denver community, and to contributing in any way I can to the friendly and scholarly atmosphere of this extraordinary center of learning,” Hill says.

Ambassador Hill graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine with a B.A. in Economics.  He received a Master’s degree from the Naval War College in 1994.  He speaks Polish, Serbo-Croatian, and Macedonian. His appointment is effective Sept. 1.

 Josef Korbel School of International Studies

 The Josef Korbel School of International Studies has offered degree programs in international affairs since its founding in 1964 as the Graduate School of International Studies by the scholar-diplomat Josef Korbel. Korbel is the father of Madeleine Albright, who was the first woman appointed to serve as the U.S. Secretary of State. In its earlier incarnation, the Department of International Relations at the University of Denver had a national reputation thanks to Ben M. Cherrington, a scholar, U.S. State Department diplomat and dynamic educator dedicated to providing his students with a global perspective.

The Graduate School of International Studies was renamed Josef Korbel School of International Studies in 2008. The new name recognizes that Korbel’s life and work serve as the intellectual foundation of the school and that his spirit continues to inspire students and faculty.

The Korbel School has a number of distinguished alumni, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr. and Heraldo Muñoz, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations Development Programme and Director for its Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean.


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