U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam: Who Is Ted Osius?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

On June 24, 2014, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent the nomination of Ted Osius III to be U.S. ambassador to Vietnam to the full Senate for consideration. It would be the first ambassadorial post for Osius, a career Foreign Service officer. Osius is the seventh openly gay person to be nominated by President Barack Obama to be an ambassador.


Osius is from Maryland, but attended The Putney School in Vermont, graduating in 1979. He went to Harvard, where he wrote for the Harvard Crimson and researched and edited some of the books in the “Let’s Go” travel series. After graduating in 1984 with a B.A. in social studies, he served as an intern at the American University in Cairo for a year. While he was in Egypt, his father, Dr. Ted Osius, a urologist, died of a heart attack while duck hunting. The Sailing Club of the Chesapeake, of which the elder Osius was an active member, created the Ted Osius Memorial Regatta, which is still held annually.


Following that, he went to work for then-Senator Al Gore (D-Tennessee) as legislative correspondent from 1985 to 1987.


Interested in a career in diplomacy, Osius took but did not pass the Foreign Service exam. He then went to Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies, graduating with an M.A. in international economics and U.S. foreign policy in 1989. He took the exam again and passed it, joining the Foreign Service that year.


Osius’ first posting was to Manila, from 1989 to 1991. Other early assignments included the Vatican and the United Nations.


In 1996, Osius was among the first U.S. diplomats to work in Vietnam since the end of the U.S. war there. The following year, he helped set up the U.S. consulate in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). While there, he travelled 1,200 miles by bicycle from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.


Osius returned to Washington in 1998 to serve as a senior advisor on international affairs to Gore, who by then was vice president of the United States, working on subjects including Asia, international economics and trade issues.


Osius went back to Indochina in 2001 as regional environmental affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. While in Thailand he had a book, The U.S.-Japan Security Alliance: Why It Matters and How To Strengthen It, published. The book, which is still available, examines the U.S. role as Japan’s military protector.


In 2004 he was back in Washington as deputy director in the State Department’s Office of Korean Affairs in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.


That year was also significant in Osius’ personal life. He met Clayton Bond at a Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies meeting. Bond was then a watch officer in the State Department’s operations center. They were married in 2006 in Vancouver, Canada.


They were posted together that year in the embassy in New Delhi, India, where Osius was the political minister-counselor. In 2008 he was a poll observer for Bhutan’s first democratic election.


In 2009, Osius was named the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. In his first year there, he helped coordinate relief efforts after the West Sumatra earthquake.


Osius returned to Washington in 2012 to work as a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a foreign policy think tank. In 2013, he became an associate professor at the National Defense University. 


During his confirmation hearing, Osius told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the time is coming to consider lifting U.S. restrictions on arms sales to Vietnam, which currently buys most of its weaponry from Russia.


Osius speaks Vietnamese, French and Italian, as well as a bit of Arabic, Hindi, Thai, Japanese and Indonesian. He and Bond have a son.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Official Biography

Statement before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (pdf)

Ted Osius (American University in Cairo)

A Lifetime in the American Foreign Service (SAIS Observer)

State Department Cables (WikiLeaks)


Geoff Quinn 7 months ago
Hi from your old Keewaydin counselor. Congrats on all of your accomplishments -- Geoff Quinn
Andy 1 year ago
Ted, You are clueless of what is going on in Vietnam. All you care is the luxury life the communist government providing you and your family. You don't even care anything about human right issues, the poor children and the injustice which is going in that dictatorship communist country. I understand that animal cruelty is he least of your concern but please have some sympathy for the children
T 1 year ago
You need to worry about what's happening in your own backyard. In the US, each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats). It is impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States; estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.
Dear Ted Osisu, I am writing to you regarding Vietnam cultural of brutal inhuman slaughter of dogs,puppies, cats and kittens. Thailand's is transporting in the 1,000 these pet's and strays in inhuman cages 1,000 on top of each other for slaughter to vietnam. I saw the web sight Thailand grim tread in dog meet. I have e-mailed United States White House, Caroline Kennedy, Senator Charlies Schumer, Hillary Clinton and our news cast channel 10 in Albany N.Y. Steve Caparizzo has informed me that he has tried years ago writing senators and congress people.He tell's me that its one of those things they don't want to here. Our senators and congress and President can get involved in other countries regarding there cultural why can't our government get involve with the brutal slaughter of the pet's. I am pleading to you sir to please have the american people know what is going on in this country. If Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy can speak out to the american people regarding the slaughter of thousand of whales in that country you have the power to do the same for these poor helpless pet's. My number is 518-461-5763. Thank you and god bless you.

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