Donald Blinken

A native New Yorker, Ambassador Blinken’s career has blended leadership in investment banking, education, and arts patronage. Ambassador Blinken graduated Magna Cum Laude in Economics from Harvard in 1948 after serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.

He co-founded the investment banking/venture capital firm of E.M. Warburg, Pincus & Co. in 1966, and chaired the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York, the nation’s largest institution of higher education, from 1978 to 1990. He served as Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary from 1994 to 1998.

Ambassador Blinken was President of the Mark Rothko Foundation from 1976 to 1989, and also served as President of the Brooklyn Academy of Music from 1970 to 1976. He was a member of the Special Presidential Nominating Panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1979, and a founding Trustee of the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust from 1986 to 1991.

Prior to serving as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, Mr. Blinken was a member of the Executive Committee of the New York Public Library, and a member of the Trustees’ Council of the National Gallery of Art. In 1998 he joined the International Council of Central European University and subsequently was named to its Board of Trustees.

He is currently an Honorary Trustee of the New York Philharmonic Society, an overseer of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany, and served as Secretary-General of The World Federation of United Nations Associations from 2000 to 2004. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, and the board of the Project on Ethnic Relations.

Ambassador Blinken was awarded the U.S. Department of Defense Award for Distinguished Public Service, as well as being the first U.S. Ambassador to receive the Republic of Hungary’s highest civilian honor. He is the author of a book on American Trade Policy and numerous articles on education and international affairs. Together with his wife, Vera, who serves on the board the International Rescue Committee, he co-authored “Vera and the Ambassador; Escape and Return,” SUNY Press, 2009. His son, Antony, was the Senior National Security Advisor for Europe to former President Clinton, as well as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Staff Director. He served as the Deputy National Security Advisor for President Barack Obama from 2004 to January 2017.

Ambassadorial Post(s)

Hungary, (1994 - 1998)

Areas of Expertise

  • Management - Finance