Visiting policy practitioners

Richard Boucher

Richard Boucher is a senior US diplomat turned teacher. Over a thirty-two year career, he served in numerous leadership positions and achieved the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service as Career Ambassador. 

Richard’s career began in China at the start of economic reform; in his later career, he became the longest serving  Spokesman in the history of the State Department, serving six Secretaries of State. From 2006 to 2009, he formulated U.S. policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as India and the broader region, as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia. Richard headed US missions overseas as U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus (1993-1996) and U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong (1996-1999), and led U.S. efforts for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation as US Senior Official for APEC from 1999-2000.

After retiring from the State Department, Ambassador Boucher served four years as Deputy Secretary-General for Global  affairs at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. In this role, he organized outreach on economic reform to the major economies of China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa as well as newly reforming
countries around the world like Colombia, Tunisia and Myanmar. 

Since 2014, he has taught diplomacy and foreign policy to Brown University graduate and undergraduate students as a Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. He has also taught at the University of Michigan and George Mason University. From November 2016 to April 2018, he advised HSBC Bank/South Asia on preventing money laundering and financial crime. 

He frequently writes and speaks on foreign policy, China and trade issues and blogs at as an expert at Richard also serves on the board of The Mountain Institute ( and has participated in a US-Pakistan Track II dialogue. 

Richard taught English as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal from 1973-1975. He is married to Carolyn Brehm, a business executive. They have two children, Madeleine and Peter.

Educational background

He obtained his Bachelor's degree from Tufts University and did graduate work in economics at the George Washington University.

Professional affiliations

Ambassador in Residence and Senior Fellow at Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs