top of page


Robert A.

Mr. Flaten served as Ambassador to Rwanda from December 1990 to November 1993. He retired from the Foreign Service in May 1994. He is presently Chair of the Executive Committee of the Noble Peace Prize Forum which works with the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo to honor and promote the work of recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. He is a Distinguished Lecturer in Political Science at St. Olaf College, Vice President of UNA/Minnesota, a Minnesota Representative of the Immortal Chaplains Foundation. He is also a member of the Minnesota International Center, AFSA Upper Midwest, the St. Paul – Minneapolis Committee on Foreign Relations, and Rotary.

Before going to Rwanda, Mr. Flaten was Director of the State Department Office of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka and Director of the Office of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh Affairs in Washington, D.C. He organized and spearheaded a legislative plan for continuing assistance to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and subsequently was a part of the team which negotiated the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. Mr. Flaten was a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs in 1986/87; His project examined the role of democratic institutions in the development and implementation of foreign policy in several countries.

Earlier State Department assignments included: Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv from 1982 to 1986, Director of the Office of North African Affairs for one year, and six years in the State Department Office of Congressional Relations, as Deputy Assistant Secretary from 1979-1981. Mr. Flaten was also a Foreign Service Inspector, Desk Officer for Afghanistan, Economic Office and Assistant AID liaison Officer in Tel Aviv, Vice Consul in Peshawar, Pakistan, and Vice Consul in Strasbourg, France.

Mr. Flaten studied South Asian Area Studies in 1969/70 at the University of Pennsylvania and completed the course work of a Ph.D. at that time. He holds an M.A. in International Relations from The George Washington University and a B.A. from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. He received the degree of Doctor of Humane letters, Honoris Causa, from Luther College. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of St. Olaf College and Northfield High School.

Mr. Flaten joined the Foreign Service in 1961, following graduate work and three years in the United States Air Force as a pilot and radar controller. He is married to the former Carroll Johnson with whom he celebrates four children. He was born in 1934 in Northfield, Minnesota where he has recently returned.

bottom of page