Board of Visitors spotlight: Daniel Speckhard

Portrait of Daniel Speckhard, Board of Visitors MemberDaniel Speckhard (MA ’82) is the President/CEO of Corus International, an ensemble of organizations including Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health that seek to break the cycle of poverty and promote healthy communities in the developing world. A former U.S. Ambassador to Greece and Belarus, he has had a long and distinguished career in international diplomacy and development. Speckhard joined the La Follette School Board of Visitors in 2018.

Speckhard’s career in government service has spanned both Republican and Democratic administrations. His previous positions have included serving as deputy assistant secretary general at NATO and deputy chief of mission in Iraq, where he oversaw the U.S. government’s reconstruction assistance program that rebuilt hospitals and clinics across the country.

Originally from Waupaca County, Speckhard attended UW–Madison for his bachelor’s degree in economics and went on to complete a master’s degree in public policy and administration from the La Follette School and a master’s degree in economics. He started his career in government through the Presidential Management Fellows program, the federal government’s flagship leadership development program that helps to connect fellows with a two-year, full-time federal position where they receive management training.

“At a time when governments are struggling with a world in ‘permacrisis’ and politicians seem paralyzed in the face of polarized societies,” said Ambassador Speckhard, “the La Follette School is more important than ever in empowering a new generation of policymakers, analysts and leaders to offer evidence-based solutions to seemingly intractable problems and remind us that public policy is more than politics and good governance should be a human right.”

In 2019, Laura Bunn (MIPA ‘2020) interviewed Speckhard for the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s Thank You, 72 podcast about his career path and his take on current international diplomacy issues.

The La Follette School Board of Visitors provides important guidance by identifying resources that can raise the stature and standing of the school, helping with fundraising, providing career advice to students, and acting as goodwill ambassadors. The La Follette School is grateful to Speckhard for sharing his extensive expertise with the board and the school.

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