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News from Berlin

A Lecture by H.E. Amb. Philip D. Murphy, Ambassador of the USA to Germany

May 30th, 2010

H.E. Amb. Philip D. Murphy

Ambassador of the USA to Germany

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News from Berlin. Philip D. Murphy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany on August 7, 2009. He presented his credentials in Berlin to German President Horst Koehler on September 3, 2009.

Born in 1957, Ambassador Murphy is a native of the Boston, Massachusetts area. He graduated from Harvard University in 1979 with an A.B. in Economics and received an M.B.A. in 1983 from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Tammy, have four children, Josh, Emma, Charlie and Sam.

For over six decades, Germany has been one of the United States’ closest allies and, as such, Ambassador Murphy is honored and humbled by the position he occupies. During the Cold War, the German-American relationship was defined by a divided Berlin, Germany and Europe. Today, the U.S. works side-by-side with Germany across the range of its global interests.

Engaging Germany’s youth, none of whom were born during the Cold War, is a major focus of Ambassador Murphy’s, whether through town hall meetings, exchange programs or his regular communication through a variety of social media. He often says, “the legacy of our time together in Germany will be measured by how well we ‘set the table’ for tomorrow, by how deeply today’s youth understand the ongoing relevance of the transatlantic bridge. They are tomorrow’s leaders and our investment in their future is our highest priority.”

Ambassador Murphy spent 23 years at Goldman Sachs and held a variety of senior positions, including in Frankfurt, New York and Hong Kong, before becoming a Senior Director of the firm in 2003, a position he held until his retirement in 2006. After leaving Goldman Sachs, he served from 2006-2009 as the National Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Over the years, Ambassador Murphy has devoted substantial time to civic, community and philanthropic affairs. He has focused his efforts on areas including civil rights, education, progressive and pragmatic public policy, urban development and a variety of issues related to his adopted home state of New Jersey.

Ambassador Murphy and his family absolutely love living in Germany, representing the U.S.A. Soccer is a particular passion for the Murphy family. Ambassador Murphy has served on the board of the U.S. Soccer Foundation and he was a driving force in bringing a professional women’s soccer franchise to New Jersey. All Murphys play, to a greater or lesser degree, the beautiful game.

Berlin Global

News from Berlin.

“Understanding Afghanistan and Central Asia”

A Speech by H.E. Amb. Philip D. Murphy, Ambassador of the USA to Germany

International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy 2010

(Berlin; May 24th – 30th, 2010)


An Interview with Amb. Philip D. Murphy (U.S. Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany)

Interviewed by Travis Mockler

Q1. Do you think that there is a single factor that could be said to enforce the change of the military strategy in Afghanistan or do you think it was more a combination of several factors?

Its probably best summarised by saying that President Obama and General McChrystal had a strategy in Afghanistan that needed very deep fact based thought, very rigorous, and it took longer than people might have liked. It was more public than people would have liked but the reality is we needed a whole new range of rigorous fact based homework led by the President, that’s the single biggest reason.

Q2. You suggested that the ISAF force and Afghan joint forces must convince the Afghan joint forces must convince the Afghan population of the legitimacy of the Afghan government if they are going to get their continued support. How do you propose the joint forces accomplish this in light of the allegations of corruption government?

The Afghan government and president Karzai himself have made very strenuous and strong commitments about rooting out corruption and dealing with it and we have to both trust them. We have to help and aid and abet that whenever we can, and that’s largely going to be their mission. We take them and we spend a lot of time speaking with them, and we take them on their word. Secondly the people most importantly the Afghan people as you suggested must trust the system and have to believe in the system. They have to think it’s the better alternative, and that’s it is better for them, for their children, for their children’s children and for their security. The Afghan people have to see this is the core of General McChrystal’s strategy, we have to clear which is largely military, hold which is largely police, maintain security and build which are largely civilian and development sectors. Once folks are convinced that you’re comfortably, these are my own words, comfortably and irretrievably at least phase two, this whole thing starts to tip toward the right outcome.

Q3. Afghanistan has always been a real patchwork of a huge number of diversities, tribes, and factions and this has presented a number of challenges to the recently established Afghani government, and specifically American and ISAF forces. What steps is the American government and the Afghanistan government taking to reconcile these differences?

I’ve been to Afghanistan, I needed to go there to ensure I had credibility with my discussions with the political community in Berlin and not to claim that I was an expert but that I’d seen it with my own eyes. I will say however that there is no one size fits all, just because we do it one way in the United States or that way in Germany that doesn’t mean that that solution you can just blindly apply elsewhere around the world you have to take into account and you suggested this in your question there is an extraordinary richness and diversity in Afghanistan, and Afghanistan when it has functioned all of its cylinders over the arc of history. It has found ways to achieve that harmony and a lot of this has got to be first and foremost if that harmony is to be achieved. We can aid and abet that process, but this is first and foremost, an Afghan people, and an Afghan government mission.