Fletcher Dean Emeritus and former U.S. ambassador dies at 76

Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Stephen W. Bosworth on Oct. 25, 2011. Eric Bridiers via Wikimedia Commons

Stephen W. Bosworth, dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, passed away from pancreatic cancer at his Boston home on Jan. 4. He was 76 years old. 

Bosworth served as the Dean of the Fletcher School from 2001 to 2013 and a U.S. ambassador three times, to Tunisia, the Philippines and the Republic of Korea, according to his obituary in the Washington Post on Jan. 6

According to Admiral James Stavridis USN, the current Fletcher dean, Bosworth had extensive influence on the Fletcher School.

Dean and Ambassador Bosworth was an extraordinary figure,” Stavridis told the Daily in an email. “He led the charge to increase the number of students in the school as well as building the size of our executive education program. He will always be remembered as one of the towering figures of the Fletcher School.”

During Bosworth‘s tenure as the Fletcher Dean, he expanded the number of Fletcher staff members, maintained the school’s financial success during an unpredictable economy and administered the creation of new degree programs, which had a major impact on increasing the school’s “teaching, research and global outreach,” according to a Jan. 8 story from Tufts Now.

Fletcher Executive Associate Dean Gerard Sheehan also credited Bosworth with expanding classes and programs at Fletcher.

“During his deanship, the school launched both the [Master of International Business] and [Master of Laws in International Law] degree programs, established our Institute for Business in the Global Context [and] raised funds for our Board [of Advisors] Scholarships, now named the Bosworth Scholarships,” Sheehan wrote to the Daily in an email. “The school also added a second iteration of our combined residency-distance learning program (GMAP).”

Beyond his role at the Fletcher School, Bosworth held various roles in the international community. According to the Tufts Now story, he served as the Special Representative for North Korea Policy under President Obama for three years while at Tufts. ThWashington Post obituary describes Bosworth as having had the rare experience of being an outsider in the Korean Peninsula with direct experience with the Communist country.

 The obituary added that in 2015, Bosworth discussed resuming denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea with a North Korean officeholder.

Bosworth was awarded Diplomat of the Year in 1987 from the American Academy of Diplomacy. Most recently, he had been a senior fellow at the Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University and the chair of the Korean Institute at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. 

“At the Belfer Center, Steve was the proverbial kid in the candy store,” Belfer Center Director Graham Allison told the Daily in an email. “Never one to rest on his considerable laurels or hide in his office, he spent much of his time here engaged with students. It says a lot about Steve’s character and generosity that he personally invested so much time this past year in helping one of our youngest fellows hone an important paper on the Korean Peninsula.”

According to a Jan. 6 Washington Post tribute to Bosworth written by Fletcher International Politics Professor Daniel Drezner, Bosworth’s work as the U.S. Department of State Director of Policy Planning heavily influenced Drezner’s book, Avoiding Trivia.” Drezner said that Bosworth’s ability to remain forbearing in situations aided him as the Fletcher Dean and in his other roles.

University President Anthony Monaco noted that Bosworth used his experiences to build up connections between the Fletcher School and international networks.

“He recognized that an international school like Fletcher is strengthened by perspectives from many people and places, and so he established regional advisory groups around the globe that have helped to more fully engage Fletcher’s extensive network of alumni and friends,” Monaco wrote in an email statement to the Tufts community on Jan. 6.

According to the Washington Post obituary, Bosworth is survived by his wife Christine Holmes, two children from his first marriage, two stepchildren, two brothers and 10 grandchildren.