William Bodde, Jr.
Foreign Service Career: Bill’s thirty-two year diplomatic career spanned three geographic areas of specialization – Europe, The Pacific Islands and Asia. In 1962, his first diplomatic assignment, as a political officer, was to Vienna. He then served in Stockholm, Berlin and Bonn. In 1978, Bodde was named the first Director of Pacific Island Affairs. While formulating U.S. policy towards the emerging Pacific Island nations, he served as the State Department’s senior representative to the Micronesian’s Political Status Negotiations.
In 1980, President Carter appointed him Ambassador to Fiji, Tonga and Tuvalu and Minister Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Kiribati and the United States Representative to the South Pacific Commission. Bill left Fiji in 1982 to serve as the first Diplomat-In-Residence at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. He later taught at the University of Hawaii’s China and Japan MBA programs for ten years. In 1983, as a senior officer, he returned to Germany as Consul General in Frankfurt – heading the largest U.S. Consulate General in the world.
In 1986, Bodde was selected by then Assistant Secretary Rozanne Ridgway to serve as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau for European and Canadian Affairs. His portfolio covered U.S. relations with 14 Western European nations, including the two Germanys. In 1990, President Bush chose Bill Bodde to be the first U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Marshall Islands. In November 1992, he was named the first Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Arriving in Singapore in January 1993, Ambassador Bodde was charged with creating a fully operational international organization in less than one year. He managed to meet the mandated deadline and left Singapore with commendations from the Asia Pacific Foreign and Trade Ministers and from the U.S. Secretary of State. In 1994, Bill wrote The View From the 19th Floor: Reflections of the First APEC Executive Director, which was published by the Institute of Southeast Asia Studies, in Singapore.
Awards and Commendations (partial): Presidential Award/Two State Department Superior Honor Awards/the Hofstra Alumni Association Eastabrook Award/Joint resolution by the Hawaii State Legislature honoring Ambassador Bodde for his service to the United States and Pacific Islands.
After the Foreign Service (partial): Special Advisor to the Pacific Basin Economic Council; United States Member Committee (PBEC U.S.); Advisor to the Institute for International Economics; private consultant to Fortune 500 companies. Speaker at American graduate business schools – Wharton, USC, Thunderbird, University of Hawaii…; author of numerous articles on foreign policy, international trade…
Personal data: William Bodde, Jr. was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He received his BA in History and Political Science from Hofstra College and a Master of International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Before joining the Foreign Service in 1962, he served in the U.S. Army overseas. He worked for Newsday and the Housing and Home Finance Agency. His wife of almost 50 years, the former Ingrid Oberle of Worms, Germany, died in 2003. Their daughter, Barbara, died in 2009. He has two sons, Peter and Christopher. Peter has completed his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Nepal and is Ambassador-designate to Libya.
Ambassador Bodde passed away on May 26, 2020