Peter Tomsen

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Peter Tomsen
Born (1940-11-19) November 19, 1940 (age 79)
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
NationalityUnited States
Alma materWittenberg University
University of Pittsburgh
OccupationForeign Service
Years active1967–1998

Peter Tomsen (born November 19, 1940), is a retired American diplomat and educator, serving as United States Special Envoy to Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992,[1] and United States Ambassador to Armenia between 1995 and 1998.[2][3][4][5] Ambassador Tomsen’s thirty-two year diplomatic career emphasized South and Central Asia, Northeast Asia and the former Soviet Union.

Early life[edit]

Although born in Cleveland, Ohio, Peter Tomsen graduated from Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and attended college at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, receiving a degree in political science in 1962. Tomsen was awarded a Heinz fellowship for post-graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Receiving his master's degree in public and international affairs, Tomsen spent two years working in the Peace Corps in Nepal.[6] Tomsen studied Nepali and taught civics and English in a newly founded 80-student college in a Himalayan town in western Nepal. Tomsen chose to extend his Peace Corps service for six months to be headmaster of a Tibetan refugee school.

Diplomatic and political career[edit]

Ambassador Tomsen entered the Foreign Service in 1967. He served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 1993 - 1995, and was United States ambassador to Armenia from 1995 to 1998.[7] He was deputy chief of mission of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, spanning from 1985 to 1989. He served in the political-military office of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, 1967 - 1968. After a year of Vietnamese language training in Washington in early 1969, he was assigned to the U.S. Civilian-Military Advisory Organization in Vietnam, 1969 - 1970. He was a political officer of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, 1971 - 1975; a political officer of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, 1977 - 1978; and a political officer of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, 1981 - 1983. From 1984 to 1987, he served in the Department of State as office director of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives.[8]
1989-1992: US Special Envoy to Afghanistan.[better source needed][1]

Selected works[edit]

  • Tomsen, Peter (July 12, 2011). The Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and the Failures of Great Powers. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 978-1-58648-763-8.[9][10]
  • Tomsen, Peter (December 2000 – February 2001). "Geopolitics of an Afghan Settlement". Perceptions, Journal of International Affairs. 5 (4). Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2011.


  1. ^ a b Tomsen, Peter (December 12, 2001). "Stabilizing post-Taliban Afghanistan".
  2. ^ Gutman, Roy (2008). How we missed the story: Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, and the hijacking of Afghanistan. US Institute of Peace Press. p. 30. ISBN 1-60127-024-0. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  3. ^ Kleveman, Lutz (2004). The New Great Game: Blood and Oil in Central Asia. Grove Press. p. 246. ISBN 0-8021-4172-2. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  4. ^ The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks. Cosimo, Inc. 2010. pp. 483 (note). Retrieved July 28, 2011.CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ Mukarji, Apratim (2003). Afghanistan, from terror to freedom. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. p. 59. ISBN 81-207-2542-5. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  6. ^ "Peter Tomsen, Ambassador in Residence" (PDF). Center for Afghanistan Studies, University of Nebraska at Omaha. 2005. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  7. ^ "U.S.-Armenian Relations 1991-2006: A Conversation with Our First Five Ambassadors" US Library of Congress Video archive of 13th annual Vardanants Day lecture program
  8. ^ Bush, George (June 5, 1989). "Accordance of the Personal Rank of Ambassador to Peter Tomsen While Serving as Special Envoy to the Afghan Resistance". White House.
  9. ^ "The Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and the Failures of Great Powers". Kirkus Reviews. May 15, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  10. ^ Silverman, Jerry Mark. "The Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and The Failures of Great Powers". New York Journal of Books. Retrieved July 28, 2011.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Harry J. Gilmore
United States Ambassador to Armenia
Succeeded by
Michael Craig Lemmon