November 12, 2020

Ambassador Alexander "Sandy" Vershbow
Distinguished Fellow at Scowcroft Center on Strategy and Security

Atlantic Council


ICAS Fellow

Dear Friend:

We are pleased to share with you that Alexsander "Sandy" Vershbow has been named ICAS Distinguished Fellow, effective immediately.

Ambassador Alexander "Sandy" Vershbow is a Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center on Strategy and Security in Washington DC and the Wolk Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House in Philadelphia PA.

Sandy was the Deputy Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from 2012 to 2016, the first American to hold that position. He was directly involved in shaping the Alliance’s response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, in adapting NATO’s deterrence and defense posture, and in deepening NATO’s partnerships with non-Allies in Europe, the Middle East and Northeast Asia, including the Republic of Korea.

Prior to his post at NATO, Ambassador Vershbow served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (2009-2012). In that position, Sandy was responsible for coordinating U.S. security and defense policies relating to the nations and international organizations of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

From 1977 to 2008, he was a career member of the United States Foreign Service. Sandy served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (2005-2008), to the Russian Federation (2001-2005), and to NATO (1997-2001). In Korea, Ambassador Vershbow helped negotiate the original version of the Korea U.S. Free Trade Agreement, participated in transformation of the U.S.-ROK defense alliance, and worked to coordinate U.S. and Korean policies toward North Korea, including the Six Party Talks.

Prior to his three Ambassadorships, Sandy held numerous senior positions in Washington, including Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European affairs at the National Security Council (1994-97) and State Department Director for Soviet Union affairs (1988-91). Throughout his career, he was centrally involved in strengthening U.S. defense relations with allies and in transforming NATO and other European security organizations to meet post-Cold War challenges. Sandy also was involved in efforts to support democracy and human rights in the former Soviet Union.

Alexander Vershbow is a long-time student of international relations. He received a B.A. in Russian and East European Studies from Yale University (1974) and a Master’s Degree in International Relations and Certificate of the Russian Institute from Columbia University (1976).

During his U.S. government career, Ambassador Vershbow received numerous awards including the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal (2012); the State Department Cordell Hull Award for Economic Achievement for his contributions to negotiations on the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (2007); the American Bar Association’s Ambassador’s Award for his advocacy of the democracy, human rights and rule of law in Russia (2004); the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award for his work as Ambassador to NATO (2001); the Department of Defense’s Joseph J. Kruzel Award for his contributions to peace in the former Yugoslavia (1997); and the Anatoly Sharansky Freedom Award of the Union of Councils of Soviet Jews for his work in advancing the cause of Jewish emigration from the USSR (1990).

At NATO, Ambassador Vershbow was awarded the NATO Distinguished Service Medal. Sandy has received state honors from the Presidents of Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Georgia and Finland, and from the King of Belgium.

Thank you.