Ambassador to Laos: Who Is Dan Clune?

Thursday, July 04, 2013

The landlocked, isolated Southeast-Asian nation of Laos will soon have a new ambassador who may value the relative quiet after the last two years of public controversy. Since 2010, Dan Clune, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, has served as principal deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.


As such, he has been the State Department’s point man in its process of deciding whether to permit TransCanada (2012 revenues: CAN$8 billion) to build the proposed 2,000-mile long, $7 billion Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which would deliver tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. If confirmed by the Senate, Clune would succeed Karen Stewart, who has served in Vientiane since 2010.


Born circa 1949, Clune earned a BA at Boston College in 1971 and a J.D. at Boalt Hall, the law school at the University of California-Berkeley, in 1974.


After practicing law for ten years in Chicago, Clune joined the Foreign Service in 1985 and served early career postings at the U.S. embassies in Lima, Peru, and Jakarta, Indonesia, and as an economic officer in the European Affairs Bureau in Washington, DC, from 1990 to 1992.


Clune spent four years working on trade issues, including service as director of Middle East and Mediterranean affairs at the Office of U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky from 1997 to 1998 and as trade advisor at the U.S. Mission to the OECD in Paris, France, from 1998 to 2000.


From 2000 to 2002, Clune served as deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires at the embassy in Nassau, Bahamas.


Clune then worked economic issues for the next five years, serving as director of the Office of Economic Policy and Public Diplomacy from 2002 to 2005, and as director of the Office of Monetary Affairs and Head of the U.S. Delegation to the Paris Club from 2005 to 2007. Clune served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the embassy in Canberra, Australia, from February 2007 to 2010.


He has been married for 37 years to Judy Clune, an artist, and has three daughters.

-Matt Bewig


To Learn More:

Official Biography

Q&A with the U.S. State Dept. Official Leading the Keystone XL Pipeline Review (by Luiza Ch. Savage, MacLeans)


David McGrath 2 years ago
Hey, Dan, I could have sworn you were a Republican back at St. Joe's. Glad to see you've come to your senses. David
Pao Khang 4 years ago
Hi, Mr. Clune My name is Pao Khang, I live in Wisconsin. I was born in Laos in 1970, came to the USA in 1978 and been here ever since. I had visited Laoos in the pass 2 years things for my Hmong people haven't change much. I feel sad that my people have to surfer like that. The reason I'm comment on here is that I heard you came to visit our Hmong people in St. Pauls,MN not to long ago, letting us know that the US is providing $13 million dollars to Laos again to remove the mine and bomb that was left in Laos. I like to reach out and asked of you if there any way that that money is used properly in the past that money would just go into the Laos Government's pocket only. I would like to as if you would have a group of our Hmong people from the US to go and help and manage some of these project. So that the money is used in the right way. Thanks

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