Washington, DC – IRI today announced that Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, III, Constance Berry Newman and Olin L. Wethington have joined its Board of Directors.

“We are honored to have Paul, Connie and Olin join the Board of the International Republican Institute,” said IRI Board Chairman, Senator John McCain.  “Their commitment to expanding and strengthening democracy in the Middle East, Africa and Asia will enhance IRI’s programs and help IRI advance democracy around the globe.”

Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, III was named Presidential Envoy to Iraq on May 6, 2003 and in that capacity he served as the Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority spearheading the Coalition’s program to rebuild Iraq.  Bremer accomplished his mission on June 28, 2004 when he handed over power to the interim government of Iraq.  His best-selling book, “My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope,” tells of the challenges he faced there.

Bremer’s mission to Iraq marked his return to government after a 14 year career in business and 23 years in the State Department.

Prior to his assignment to Iraq, Bremer had been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Marsh Crisis Consulting Company, a crisis management firm owned by the financial services firm Marsh & McLennan. From 1989 to 2000, he was Managing Director of Kissinger Associates, a strategic consulting firm headed by former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.

During this period, Bremer was a director of Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Akzo Nobel NV, Vivid Technologies, Conner Peripherals, the Harvard Business School Club of New York and The Netherland-America Foundation.  He served as a Trustee of the Economic Club of New York and on the International Advisory Boards of two Japanese firms, Komatsu and Chugai Pharmaceuticals.  He is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Council on Foreign Relations and a Director of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy.

Bremer’s 23-year career in the State Department spanned eight Presidencies and during this time, he served as Special Assistant or Executive Assistant to six Secretaries of State.  His overseas assignments included service at the Embassies in Afghanistan and Malawi and service as Deputy Ambassador at the American Embassy in Norway.  President Reagan named him as Ambassador to the Netherlands in 1983 where he served for three years.  Bremer was Ambassador at Large for Counter Terrorism in the second Reagan Administration, charged with formulating and implementing the nation’s counter-terrorism policies.

Bremer is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on crisis management, terrorism and homeland security.  In September 1999, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, appointed him Chairman of the bipartisan National Commission on Terrorism.  In June 2002, President Bush appointed Bremer to the President’s Homeland Security Advisory Council.  He has also served on the National Academy of Science Commission examining the role of science and technology in countering terrorism and chaired a Heritage Foundation study, “Defending the Homeland.”

Bremer has received numerous awards for his public service.  On December 14, 2004, President Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, for his service in Iraq.  He was also presented with the Department of Defense award for Distinguished Public Service and the Nixon Library honored him with the Victory of Freedom Award for “demonstrating leadership and working towards peace and freedom.”

During his time in government, Bremer received the State Department Superior Honor Award, two Presidential Meritorious Service Awards and the Distinguished Honor Award from the Secretary of State.

Bremer is the Founder and President of the Lincoln/Douglass Scholarship Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that provides high school scholarships to inner city youths.

Bremer received his B.A. from Yale University, a CEP from the Institut D’Etudes Politiques of the University of Paris, and an MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.  He has an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Ave Maria University.  His languages are French, Dutch and Norwegian.

Constance Berry Newman is Special Counsel for African Affairs at the Carmen Group.  She has served in seven different presidential appointments and has extensive experience managing public and private organizations.  Her international service includes work in Afghanistan, Liberia, Ukraine, Russia, China and many African countries.  Newman has worked to build partnerships between African governments, nongovernmental organizations and multi-national corporations in an effort to support African ownership and participation in development initiatives.

From 2004-2005, Newman served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.  She acted as the President’s G8 personal representative on Africa, played an advisory role to the Secretary of State and guided the operation of the U.S. diplomatic establishment in the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.  In 2001, she was sworn in as the Assistant Administrator for Africa at the U.S. Agency for International Development and lead efforts to administer economic and humanitarian assistance in Africa.

Newman has also served as Under Secretary for the Smithsonian Institution; Director of the , U.S. Office of Personnel Management; Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Commissioner and Vice Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission; Chair of the Personal Search Review Commission at the U.S. Customs Service; and Cooperative Housing Foundation Consultant for the World Bank in South Africa and Lesotho.

Newman was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama.  She graduated from Bates College with a political science degree and earned her law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Olin L. Wethington, Chairman of AIG Companies in China, has played an important role on many of the major international financial issues of the past two decades.  These include financial market development in China, economic capacity-building in Iraq, structural reform in Japan, the entry of the Russia into the international financial system after the collapse of the Soviet Union, G-7 macro-economic policy coordination, the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, economic reform in Latin American and negotiation of the NAFTA.

In March 2006, Wethington joined the American International Group (AIG) as Chairman of AIG Companies in China. In this capacity, he oversees the operation and expansion of AIG’s businesses in China, including the life insurance, general insurance, financial services, and asset management sectors.

From May-September 2005, he served as Special Envoy on China engaging in intensive interaction with senior Chinese economic, monetary and foreign policy officials on exchange rate flexibility and financial market reform, and related consultations with other governments.  In late July 2005 China abandoned its decade-old fixed exchange rate mechanism and announced moves toward greater market responsiveness with respect to the value of its currency.

From August 2004-September 2005, Wethington also served as Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury. In that capacity he advised on Iraq’s economic reform program with the IMF and played a central role in the international effort to reduce substantially Iraq’s $125 billion external debt.  He led the on-ground negotiations for the United States within the Paris Club that produced the landmark international agreement to eliminate 80 percent of Iraq’s external debt-the largest debt write-down ever by sovereign creditors.  From November 2003-June 2004, Wethington served as the senior U.S. Treasury official at the Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, Iraq, where he led the multilateral team of bankers, economists and government regulators with respect to capacity-building at the Central Bank of Iraq and the Ministry of Finance of Iraq.

During previous Administrations, he served as Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Special Assistant to the President and Executive Secretary of the Economic Policy Council, White House; and Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce.  He has negotiated on behalf of the U.S. government numerous financial market agreements, particularly with G-7 governments and governments in Latin America and Asia, including Japan, China, Korea and Mexico.  During his White House service in the early 1990’s, he coordinated the policy deliberations of the Cabinet-level Economic Policy Council, chaired by the President.  The primary policy focus of the Council was performance of the U.S. economy, energy, telecommunications, pension reform, agriculture and trade relations.

In the private sector Wethington was partner at one of Washington, DC’s leading international law firms, Steptoe & Johnson Washington, DC, 1985-89 and 1993-2003.  He provided counsel on corporate matters, operations in foreign financial markets, and international trade regulation and remedies.  He has extensive relationships with major U.S. corporations, particularly in aerospace, agricultural commodities, investment banking and insurance industries.

Wethington is a graduate of Harvard Law School and University of Pennsylvania.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Board of the George C. Marshall Foundation.  He has served on numerous other Boards, including the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the Wesley Heritage Foundation, Enterprise Works Worldwide, and SSE Telecom.  During 2002-2003 he served as General Counsel of IRI.  He is a recipient of the Alexander Hamilton Award, the highest honor of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

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