Niels Marquardt, LC’s diplomat in residence

Niels Marquardt '75, LC's first diplomat in residence, was appointed in February 2019. Photo by Hanna Wright

Last February, the Lewis & Clark community welcomed former U.S. Ambassador Niels Marquardt ’75 as the college’s first diplomat in residence. 

Marquardt graduated from LC with a BA in German and proceeded to join the Peace Corps, serving in Rwanda. Following his time in the Peace Corps, Marquardt graduated from the American Graduate School of International Business in 1980 and the National War College in 1994. 

Immediately after his graduation, Marquardt became a member of the Foreign Service, launching a thirty three year-long career in foreign diplomacy. 

“Nowadays (it seems) people don’t expect to have the same employer for that length of time, but it almost feels like you don’t because you’re always moving around and having different bosses,” Marquardt said. “It is a completely different experience (each time) and you never feel like you’re in a rut.” 

Throughout his career, Marquardt served as an economic officer in Thailand, The Republic of the Congo, France and Germany. He has also served as the U.S. Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Madagascar and the Comoros.  

Marquardt’s final assignment in the State Department was as the U.S. consul general in Sydney, Australia.

“It is one of the nicest jobs in the Foreign Service,” Marquardt said. “We didn’t have to worry about (putting the country back together), it was more like ‘what can we learn from the way they’re running their country.’ As a very close ally my main job there was to … reassure the Australians that we appreciate them and are aware of what they’re doing.”

As he was not ready to leave the country just yet, Marquardt took a job as the CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia following his post in Sydney. 

After a four-year-long tenure with the Chamber of Commerce, Marquardt and his family returned to the U.S. and settled in Portland. 

As the diplomat in residence at LC, Marquardt works alongside faculty and students on campus activities, such as the annual International Affairs symposium, and advises students who are interested in careers with the Foreign Service or other overseas careers. 

“Whatever (people) are doing, I can probably add something to it …  perhaps I can help recruit some people to speak (at the international affairs symposium),” Marquardt said. “But my real focus and the thing I like most is talking to students and trying to find out what their interests are.”

In addition to serving as a diplomat in the Foreign Service, Marquardt has held positions in human resources for the State Department and has been a special coordinator for the Diplomatic Readiness Initiative that was implemented by Colin Powell in 2001. Students can schedule an appointment to meet with Marquardt on the Career Center page on the LC website. 

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