Crisis Group mourns the passing today of Sandy Berger, a tremendous friend and colleague who worked tirelessly to promote greater peace and security in a troubled world. He died of cancer at the age of 70.
Sandy joined Crisis Group’s Board of Trustees in 2010 and made an indelible mark on our work through his energy, intellect, and keen political acumen.
“Sandy cared deeply about the state of the world and believed that we all have a responsibility to do what we can to improve the situation – and his influence was greater than most”, said International Crisis Group President & CEO Jean-Marie Guéhenno. “He was warm and generous too. I was particularly moved when, barely a month ago, he made one of his last trips to New York because he wanted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Crisis Group with all of us. His dedication was total."
Sandy’s decades of experience in the international arena made him particularly effective in promoting Crisis Group’s work. He served as the U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser and then National Security Adviser from 1993 to 2001, during the administration of President Bill Clinton. He played a critical role in shaping U.S. foreign policy during this period – including through peace processes in the Balkans, the Middle East, and Northern Ireland. He contributed to strengthening U.S. relations with India, China, and Japan, among others. He helped found an international consulting firm that later merged with one run by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
This year, Sandy threw his considerable influence behind the push for the U.S. to sign on to the Iran nuclear deal. He noted that the deal, while imperfect, could help change the dynamics across the volatile Middle East. “Walling off the nuclear threat does not extinguish the fires that are burning in the region,” he wrote in an article for Politico. “But it does remove what would be the most combustible fuel.”
Earlier this week, World Food Program USA gave Sandy its first Global Humanitarian Award to pay tribute to his work to help the world's most vulnerable people.
At this difficult time, our thoughts are with Sandy’s family – including his wife, Susan Harrison Berger, his children and grandchildren. We will honour his life as a visionary statesman and humanitarian by carrying on Crisis Group's essential work.
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