Former Ambassador Adams passed away October 10, 2015 in Portland Oregon. He was U.S. Ambassador to Peru, Haiti, and Djibouti. Adams is survived by his former wife, Mai Anh Nguyen Adams, with whom he remained very close; his son, Lex Adams, of Orange County, Calif; his brother, Nathan Adams; his half-sister, Helen Adams Vollmer, and two grandchildren, Alexandra and Audrey. See more at
(808) 554-5858 (US)
011-54-911-3235-5951 (Buenos Aires, international call)
15-3235-5951 (local Argentine call)


Senior management position in not-for-profit organization or higher education; teaching (law, history, international relations).


Retired Ambassador, former CEO of major grassroots, not-for-profit association; career diplomat, expert in international relations and negotiations, director of government affairs offices, lawyer and international business consultant. Extensive experience in public speaking, policy development, media and congressional relations, systems operations, crisis management and dispute resolution.

Most Recent Position:
President and CEO, United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA).


  • Managed all aspects of a major not-for-profit association active in foreign policy: membership growth, financial stabilization, program expansion, fundraising, merger with a related not-for-profit association.

  • Managed U.S.-Peruvian relations during Peru's recovery. Major progress on narcotics cooperation, human rights, economic, environmental and investment climates.

  • Three Ambassadorships before the age of 50.

  • Spearheaded successful, all-points campaign for first democratic elections in Haiti's history.

  • Supervised orderly evacuation of U.S. Embassy, Port-Au-Prince; managed embassy during period of near total embargo following exile of elected president.

  • Succeeded in significantly expanding allied and East European cooperation in counterterrorism; secured stepped-up law enforcement and numerous convictions of terrorists.

  • Increased U.S. strategic access to port/airfield in Djibouti with significant benefits to U.S. military operations in the Persian Gulf and Somalia.

  • Served as a principal staff officer to Secretary of State Haig during Falkland Islands Shuttle diplomacy; to Secretary Kissinger during shuttle diplomacy leading to Sinai II Agreement between Egypt and Israel.

  • Chaired for two years U.S. team to negotiate a United Nations Code of Conduct for the Transfer of Technology.

Recently retired CEO of major not-for-profit association prominent in foreign policy; twenty-nine year career in international relations with the U.S. Department of State; served as U.S. Ambassador (three times).

Functional specializations: government relations, business affairs, not-for-profit management, grant writing and administration, public speaking, TV and radio work, security, law enforcement, international commercial, media and Congressional relations, financial and legal matters. Daily contact with three Secretaries of State (Kissinger, Haig and Shultz). Representation and negotiation at foreign Chief of State and Cabinet levels.

Management of change, multi-dimensional crisis. Ability to relate successfully to diversity, willful personalities and to all kinds of people. Capacity to endure frustration without loss of effort and creativity. Team builder and motivator. Skilled communicator. Dispute mediator. Deeply knowledgeable of congressional, public and community relations. Generalist and thoughtful doer who has excelled at some of the toughest diplomatic assignments available. Specializations in Southeast Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Latin America and United Nations issues



  • CEO, United Nations Association of The United States. Managed major not-for-profit association ($5 million budget, 40 employees, 22,000 members) with unique combination of education, advocacy and policy research missions, fundraising, and program design. Prepared merger with another not-for-profit association.

  • Ambassador to Republic of Peru. Managed U.S.-Peru relations, economic revival and investment growth. Administered annual budget of $200 million, staff of 200 American and 300 national employees.

  • Ambassador to Republic of Haiti. Managed all aspects of bilateral relations during period of democratic change and political turmoil. Administered staff of 85 American employees, 200 national employees; responsible for annual operating and AID budgets of $100 million; extensive (and favorable) congressional and media exposure.

  • Principal Deputy to the Ambassador at Large for Counter-Terrorism (with rank of Deputy Assistant Secretary). Managed staff of 25 professionals. Developed and USG Managed staff of 25 professionals. Developed USG policy and operations in response to overseas terrorism and security issues. Extensive experience with crisis management and law enforcement agencies. Headed delegations to numerous international conferences, overseas missions at ministerial level; frequent public speaking, congressional and media activities.

  • Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti. Managed all aspects of bilateral relations; supervised U.S. and local staff of 100, administered $10 million operations and assistance budget. Extensive contact with Defense Department, United States Navy Commands.

  • Deputy Executive Secretary of the Department of State (with rank of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State); managed a staff of 50 officers and support personnel; responsible for USG-wide coordination of foreign policy matters; special responsibility for Middle East, Africa and East Asia policy, Economic and legal affairs; supervised administrative support, substantive briefings for State Department principals. Frequent travel with the Secretary of State.

  • Developed and coordinated with Departments of Treasury and Commerce all aspects of "north/south" technology transfer negotiations; intensive consultation with private sector; frequent public speaking; Head of Delegation to numerous international conferences; extensive multilateral negotiating experience.
Congressional and Public Affairs
  • As CEO of UNA-USA, managed intense advocacy programs at community and national levels focused on improving U.S. relations with the United Nations.

  • Author of OpEd pieces in Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Times (1998). Television interviews include PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, ABC Nightline, Fox Cable News, NBC News, CBS News (1996-1998).

  • As principal Deputy to Ambassador at Large for Counter-Terrorism, supervised congressional and public affairs unit; frequent contact with Congress; staff briefing; extensive public speaking.

  • As Director of Secretariat Staff, Deputy Executive Secretary and Special Assistant to the Secretary of State, reviewed and coordinated department's daily press guidance with other agencies, Department principals; supervised preparation, presentation of Secretary's speeches.

  • Monitored and analyzed all public and congressional developments of international economic and trade interest. Coordinated testimony; managed Economic Bureau's congressional contacts and legislative programs.

  • Drafted weekly speeches and constituent correspondence for member of Congress.

Business and Legal Experience

  • Supervised Corporate Affairs Department of UNA-USA, extensive outreach to business community; assisted companies with UN procurement.

  • As Ambassador to Peru, worked closely with American investors to resolve investment and trade disputes and develop new projects with U.S. business, especially extractive industries.

  • Conducted international business audit and overseas investment surveys/analysis for Ryder Systems, Inc. and Aviation Sales Division, Miami, Florida.

  • Managed USG policy development and international negotiations on licensing, patent, copyright and anti-trust issues, as Deputy Director of Office of Business Practices. Extensive contact with private corporate sector.

  • Reviewed loan proposals for financing by Asian Development Bank; coordinated negotiating positions on development finance issues in various international bodies.

  • Intern with law firm of Reid and Priest, NYC; preparation of security issues; SEC registrations; research and drafting of briefs on legal matters for multinational corporate clients.

  • Admitted to New York State (1967); District of Columbia Bar Associations (1978).

  • Graduated with Distinction from Foreign Service Institute's long-term economics training program (1976).

Education Experience

  • Designed and managed education partnership between UNA-USA and Seton Hall University.

  • Administered UNA-USA services to model UN programs throughout the United States which involve 100,000 high school students.

  • Frequent college lecturer on international issues, diplomatic history.



2006 - 2008 Assistant to the President of International Affairs, Bishop Museum
2006 - 2008 Host, NPR Hawaii radio talk show (Business Beyond The Reef)
2005 - 2008 Honorary Consul of Peru in Hawaii
2004 Lecturer, Honolulu TODAI International College,(Peace Studies and International Relations)
2004 Chairmanship of the Pacific Club Membership Committee


10/96 - 11/98 President and CEO


1993 - 1996 Ambassador to Republic of Peru
1989 - 1992 Ambassador to Republic of Haiti
1986 - 1989 Principal Deputy Director Office of Ambassador at Large for Counter-Terrorism
1986 Resident consultant on detail to Ryder Systems Incorporated; Aviation Sales Incorporated, Miami, Florida
1983 - 1985 Ambassador to Republic of Djibouti
1982 - 1983 Deputy Executive Secretary
1981 Director Secretariat Staff
1979 - 1980 Special Assistant for Public Affairs, Congressional Relations, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
1978 - 1979 Deputy Director, Office of Business Practices
1976 - 1977 Financial Economist, Office of Development Finance
1974 - 1976 Special Assistant to the Secretary of State
1972 - 1974 Staff member, National Security Council
1971 - 1972 Political Officer, Embassy Saigon
1970 Special Assistant to the Ambassador, Saigon
1968 - 1969 District Senior Advisor, Vietnam

1966 Law Clerk, Reid & Priest, New York City, NY
1965 - 9999 Congressional Intern


1976- 9999 Foreign Service Institute - Long Term Economics (1976) (With Distinction)
1967 Vanderbilt University Law School (J.D, '67)
1964 Yale University (B.A., '64)
1960 Phillips Exeter Academy ('60)


Birthdate: August 29, 1942, full medical clearance
Languages: French (fluent)
Spanish (fluent)
Vietnamese (some knowledge)
Awards: Meritorious Honor Awards:
     1970 (crisis management)
     1972 (reporting/analysis)
Award for superior performance at senior executive level: 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989
Superior Honor Award (Group): 1991
Award for Valor: 1992
Wilbur Carr Award for Distinguished Service: 1996
Honors: Doctor of letters (Honoris Causa), Connecticut College: 1995
Personal Interests: Fly fishing, bicycling, literature, history
Other Interests: Law, international business management (publishing, travel, aviation)