Saturday, February 26, 2005 | Zelikow takes state department post | Zelikow takes state department post: "Zelikow takes state department post

By Kate Andrews / Daily Progress staff writer
February 26, 2005
Philip Zelikow is leaving the University of Virginia to serve as a senior adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, government officials announced Friday.

He has left his post as executive director of UVa’s Miller Center of Public Affairs to become counselor of the U.S. Department of State, a full-time job. As counselor, he will serve as a senior adviser on foreign policy issues, including international negotiations.

Zelikow, 50, was executive director of the 9/11 Commission, which examined the lead-up to the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Virginia. Its work concluded in July.

“Philip and I have worked together for years and I value his counsel and expertise,” Rice said in a statement. “I appreciate his willingness to take on this assignment.”

Zelikow and Rice go back a long way, having worked together under the first President Bush. They also co-authored a 1999 book, “Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft.”

“It’s a job that absolutely suits him to a T,” said George H. Gilliam, director of the Miller Center’s forum program. “His job will be to wrap his arms around great big, complex problems.”

The position has a personal side as well, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher noted Friday.

“It’s been somebody the secretary could turn to, rely on for projects, advice, thinking, coordination - a lot of different things,” he said. “It’s a very personal position, sort of, for the secretary.”

The last time the post was filled was in 2001, when Wendy Sherman served under Secretary Madeleine Albright.

Zelikow declined an interview request Friday, but Gilliam said the job offer took him by surprise.

He was “fully committed” to staying at UVa, Gilliam said, but added, “He’s a patriot, and it’s very hard to say no.”

Zelikow’s six-year tenure at the Miller Center saw a greater focus on presidential politics, including the publication of eight volumes of Oval Office recordings from the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

“He had a very clear vision of the Miller Center’s mission,” Gilliam said. Zelikow’s main objectives were to help scholars and to uncover the decision-making process in the U.S. government’s highest reaches.

The center expects to name an interim director in the next week or so, Gilliam said. The national search for a permanent replacement will take longer - probably six to nine months.

“Philip Zelikow has brought tremendous energy and vision to the Miller Center, and he leaves an indelible imprint,” said Dan Frierson, chairman of the center’s governing council. “While we hate to see him depart, we commend and honor his tremendous commitment to public service.”

Contact Kate Andrews at (434) 978-7261 or"


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