Principals » Biography - Henry A. Kissinger


Henry KissingerHenry A. Kissinger served as the 56th U.S. secretary of state, from 1973 to 1977. He also served as assistant to the president for national security affairs from 1969 to 1975. In 1983 he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to chair the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America, until it ceased operation in January 1985, and from 1984 to 1990 he served as a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

From 1986 to 1988 he was a member of the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy of the National Security Council and Defense Department. He is currently a member of the Defense Policy Board. At present, Kissinger is chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc., an international consulting firm. He is also a member of the International Council of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.; chairman of the International Advisory Board of American International Group, Inc.; counselor to and trustee of CSIS; an honorary governor of the Foreign Policy Association; and an honor member of the International Olympic Committee. Among his other activities, Kissinger is a member of the board of ContiGroup Companies, Inc., and a public sector member of the United States Olympic Committee.

He is also an adviser to the board of American Express Company; a member of the Advisory Board of Forstmann Little and Co.; a trustee emeritus of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; a director emeritus of Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc.; a director of the International Rescue Committee; and chairman of the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowships. Among the awards Kissinger has received have been the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973; the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation’s highest civilian award) in 1977; and the Medal of Liberty (given one time to ten foreign-born American leaders) in 1986. Dr. Kissinger was born in Fuerth, Germany, came to the United States in 1938, and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1943.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1950 and received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in 1952 and 1954. From 1954 until 1969 he was a member of the faculty of Harvard University, in both the Department of Government and the Center for International Affairs. He was director of the Harvard International Seminar from 1952 to 1969.

Kissinger is the author of many books, including On China (2011), Ending the Vietnam War: A History of America’s Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War (2003) and Crisis: The Anatomy of Two Major Foreign Policy Crises (2003). He has also published numerous articles on U.S. foreign policy, international affairs, and diplomatic history. His column, syndicated by Tribune Media Services International, appears in leading U.S. newspapers and in over 40 foreign countries.