Parker W. Borg served more than thirty-five years in the American Foreign Service. He was nominated by three Presidents for Ambassadorial positions. As Ambassador in Iceland from 1993 to 1996, he spent much of his energy negotiating the continued presence of the US military at its base in Keflavik, concluding an arrangement that held until 2002 and was the final such agreement with Iceland. As Ambassador to Mali from 1981 to 1984, his primary focus was on making US assistance programs more effective and developing food security programs. He was nominated as Ambassador to Burma/Myanmar in 1991 and went through an extended, but ultimately unsuccessful confirmation process because of Senate objections over the country’s human rights situation and the house arrest of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Between the time Ambassador Borg left Mali and became involved in Burma/Myanmar, he worked on three global issues. He served as Deputy Director for Counter-terrorism (1984-86), Acting Coordinator for International Telecommunications and Information Policy (1987-89), Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Counter Narcotics (1989-91).
Prior to his assignment to Mali, Ambassador Borg served as Director of West African Affairs (1979-81) and Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Lubumbashi, Zaire (1976-78), where his district suffered two invasions from neighboring Angola in 1977 and 1978, known as the Shaban Wars.
Ambassador Borg held staff jobs in the Department between 1970 and 1975: as Special Assistant to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (1974-75), Special Assistant to the Director General of the Foreign Service (1972-74), and line officer on the Secretariat Staff (1970-72).
Borg’s State Department experiences included three Vietnam assignments. After studying Vietnamese for a year, he worked as a civilian development officer in a rural district as part of the CORDS program. He returned to Vietnam for five months as a political observer after the ceasefire was signed in 1973. When it became apparent in early 1975 that Vietnam’s collapse was imminent, he collaborated with other Vietnam hands first to establish and later participate in the evacuation task force.
Ambassador Borg entered the Foreign Service in June 1965 and served in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for his first post. Prior to joining the State Department, he began his government service as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines in 1961, part of the first group of volunteers to go overseas. When he became an Ambassador in 1981, the Peace Corps Director noted he was the first former Peace Corps volunteer to become an Ambassador.
Post-State Department jobs included the national security project at the Center for International Policy, opposing the US intervention in Iraq in 2002-3; teaching in the International Relations Department at the American University of Rome (2005-2008); and running a graduate seminar on diplomacy at the American Graduate School of International Relations in Paris in fall of 2008.
Ambassador Borg was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and received his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth in 1961 and master’s degree from Cornell in 1965. He was the State Department Fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations (1978-79) and also a fellow at the Center for International and Strategic Studies (1986-7). He is married to a fellow American diplomat, Anna Borg, and is the father of three daughters.