Donald W. Keyser retired from the U.S. Department of State in September 2004 after a 32-year career. He had been a member of the Senior Foreign Service since 1990, and held Washington-based ambassadorial-level assignments 1998-2004. Throughout his career he focused on U.S. policy toward East Asia, particularly China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and the Korean Peninsula. Fluent in Chinese and professionally conversant in Japanese, Russian and French, he served three tours at the American Embassy in Beijing, two tours at the American Embassy in Tokyo, and almost a dozen years in relevant domestic assignments. In the course of his career, Keyser logged extensive domestic and foreign experience in senior management operations, conflict resolution, intelligence operations and analysis, and law enforcement programs and operations. A Russian language major in college and a Soviet/Russian area studies specialist through M.A. work, Keyser served 1998-99 as Special Negotiator and Ambassador for Regional Conflicts in the Former USSR. He sought to develop policy initiatives and strategies to resolve three principal conflicts, leading the U.S. delegation in negotiations with four national leaders and three separatist leaders in the Caucasus region.
Keyser earned his B.A. degree, Summa Cum Laude, with a dual major in Political Science and Russian Area Studies, from the University of Maryland. He pursued graduate studies at The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., from 1965-67 (Russian area and language focus) and 1970-72 (Chinese area and language focus). He attended the National War College, Fort McNair, Washington (1988-89), earning a certificate equivalent to an M.S., Military Science; and the National Defense University Capstone Program (summer 1995) for flag-rank military officers and civilians.