Karl Inderfurth

Karl Inderfurth

Karl F. "Rick" Inderfurth (born 1946) is an American diplomat. He was the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs from August 1997 to January 2001. In his capacity as Assistant Secretary, Inderfurth was responsible for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Prior to his appointment as Assistant Secretary, Inderfurth served as the U.S. Representative for Special Political Affairs to the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador. In this capacity, Ambassador Inderfurth dealt with issues such as UN peacekeeping, disarmament, nuclear proliferation and security affairs. Ambassador Inderfurth also served as Deputy U.S. Representative on the United Nations Security Council.

Early life

Inderfurth was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1946. He attended University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and received his B.A. in political science in 1968. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland and earned his M.A. from the Department of Politics at Princeton University in 1975.


Inderfurth served in several government positions, including on the staffs of the National Security Council, United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Inderfurth also worked for ABC News as a national security correspondent, specializing in arms control, and was awarded an Emmy in 1983. Inderfurth worked as the Moscow correspondent for ABC News from February 1989 to August 1991.

During Inderfurth's tenure as Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Pakistan tested its first nuclear devices which began a period of tense relations between Pakistan and India. Since these two countries fell under Inderfurth's responsibility and jurisdiction, he reported the developments on the ground to President Bill Clinton personally. Inderfurth also oversaw President Clinton's Demining 2010 Initiative.

In 2002, Inderfurth starred in the BBC documentary "" in which Inderfurth and other high-level, retired diplomats and political appointees portray events in a fictitious White House Situation Room during a hypothetical nuclear crisis. Inderfurth plays the President of the United States, when his National Security Council is faced with a nuclear crisis on the Indian subcontinent. Other notable officials in the documentary include Ambassador Robert B. Oakley, former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta and former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart.

Inderfurth co-authored a book with Dr. Loch K. Johnson entitled, "" (2004) and is a frequent op-ed contributor to major American newspapers.

Current work

Currently, Inderfurth is a professor at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. He is also the director of the graduate program at the Elliott School. His area of expertise includes nuclear proliferation issues, US-South Asian relations, United Nations peacekeeping, disarmament and national security concerns. He also teaches an undergraduate summer institute with colleague Ambassador Thomas E. McNamara, entitled Security in an Insecure World: The Global Context in which students examine an international arena drastically changed by the events of September 11, 2001. Inderfurth has also been instrumental in bringing retired diplomats to the George Washington University teaching community, such as former Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Eric D. Newsom, who also teaches at the Elliott School.

Since joining the George Washington community in 2001, Inderfurth has helped organize visits by high-ranking diplomats and heads-of-state such as former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

Inderfurth is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Fulbright Association and the Council of American Ambassadors.

External links/bibliography

* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/features/situation-room/index.shtml BBC's The Situation Room: America in Crisis]
* [http://www.gwu.edu/~elliott/faculty/inderfurth.cfm George Washington University faculty profile]

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