Alumni Stories

C. David Welch (F’75)

Former Assistant Secretary of State, Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Location: Wagner Alumni House
Producer/Interviewer: Anneliesa Clump Alprin (G’06)
Editor: Lisa Fthenakis (C’10) C. David Welch

With career Foreign Service officers for parents—one of whom attended Georgetown—Welch grew up around the world. Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service was a natural choice for him, and Welch entered the U.S. Department of State in 1977. After more than 30 years of experience in the U.S. Foreign Service, where he rose to the top rank of career ambassador, Welch joined the Bechtel Corporation as president of the Europe, Africa and Middle East regions. He is also manager of civil strategy and business development in Bechtel’s civil business unit in London. Here, Welch reflects on his time at Georgetown, his diplomatic service and the theoretical versus operational practice of international relations.

Ambassador Welch served as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from 2005-2008, during which he led U.S. diplomacy in the region and supervised American relations with the Arab Middle East, Israel and Iran. Ambassador Welch was the on-the-ground negotiator during the 2006 war in southern Lebanon. From 2001-2005, Welch served as the U.S. ambassador to Egypt at one of the largest American embassies in the world. He was assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs from 1998-2001. His overseas service includes two years as charge d’affaires leading the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and assignments in Jordan, Syria, and Pakistan. Ambassador Welch was a member of the National Security Council staff at the White House from 1989-1991.

Additional Resources

Bechtel Corporation

U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum

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