Richard Nathan Haass (born July 28, 1951, Brooklyn) has been president of the Council on Foreign Relations since July 2003, prior to which he was Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State and a close advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell. The Senate approved Haass as a candidate for the position of ambassador and he has been U.S. Coordinator for the Future of Afghanistan. He succeeded George J. Mitchell as the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland to help the peace process in Northern Ireland, for which he received the State Department's Distinguished Service Award. At the end of 2003, Mitchell Reiss succeeded him as special envoy.
From 1989 to 1993, Haass was Special Assistant to United States President George H. W. Bush and National Security Council Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs. In 1991, Haass received the Presidential Citizens Medal for helping to develop and explain U.S. policy during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Previously, he served in various posts in the Department of State (1981-85) and the Department of Defense (1979-80) and was a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate.
Haass's other postings include Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, the Sol M. Linowitz Visiting Professor of International Studies at Hamilton College, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and a research associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. A Rhodes Scholar, Haass obtained a B.A. from Oberlin College in 1973 and went on to earn both a Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University.