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David Rank

Diplomacy, Climate and U.S.-China Relations in the Age of Trump

Lecture | September 20 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Doe Library, Morrison Library


The Honorable David Rank, Charge d'affaires and Former Acting Ambassador, China

Thomas B. Gold, Sociology, UC Berkeley

Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS), Library, Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)


Dave Rank resigned from his position as the senior American diplomat in China in the wake of the decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change. He will discuss the decision to end his 27-year career as a State Department Foreign Service Officer and the implications of this American disengagement on U.S. interests, our relationship with China and our standing in the world.

David Rank spent 27 years as a State Department Foreign Service Officer, including his final assignment as Deputy Chief of Mission and, following the 2016 election, as the Charge’ d’Affaires (acting Ambassador) at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. In addition to six Foreign Service assignments in greater China (three in Beijing, two at the American Institute in Taiwan and one at the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai), Rank served at the U.S. embassies in Kabul, Athens, and Port Louis (Mauritius). His domestic assignments included jobs as Director of the State’s Office of Afghanistan Affairs, Senior Advisor to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP), Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and Korea desk officer. From 2012-13, he was a Dean and Virginia Rusk Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. In 2015 he received the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award for his role in the release of the only American service member held by the enemy in Afghanistan. He is also the recipient of the American Foreign Service Association’s Sinclaire Award for the study of languages and their related cultures. Rank speaks Mandarin Chinese, French, Dari and Greek. He and his wife, Mary, have three children.


ieas@berkeley.edu, 510-642-2480