J. Brian Atwood served as dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs from 2002 to 2011, where he was widely credited for raising the school’s profile and national ranking. Atwood served for six years as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) during the administration of President William Clinton. He led the Clinton Administration transition team at the State Department and was Under Secretary of State for Management prior to his appointment as head of USAID. He is now a Senior fellow for International Affairs at Brown University’s Watson Institute.
In 2001, Atwood served on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s Panel on Peace Operations. He writes and speaks frequently on international development, post-conflict reconstruction, foreign policy, the role of the United Nations and other multilateral organizations in international affairs, and the United States’ role in the world order.
Atwood holds a bachelor’s degree in government and history from Boston University and received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from American University. He joined the Foreign Service in 1966 and served in the American Embassies in Cote d’Ivoire and Spain.
In January 2011, Atwood took a leave from the University to serve as chair of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The DAC is a permanent forum of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that coordinates international development policy.