Robert M. Orr

Robert Orr served as Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) until January 2016. He is currently on the Board of Governors of the Pacific Forum from January 2016 as well as on the Advisory Council of the ADB Institute. From August 2018 until January 2019 he was Distinguished Visiting Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University. He was confirmed by the Senate as United States Executive Director with the rank of Ambassador to the ADB in September 2010. He became the first U.S. Dean of the ADB Board of Directors in 2013. From 2007-2010 he was Chairman of the Board of the Panasonic Foundation and concurrently Vice Chair of the National Association of Japan-America Societies, a member of the Board of Trustees of J.F. Obirin University and a member of the Board of the East-West Center Foundation.

In November 2018 the Imperial Palace in Japan announced that Ambassador Orr would be awarded with the Order of the Rising Sun Gold Rays and Paulette and the award was conferred on June 4, 2019 at the residence of the Japanese Ambassador in Washington, D.C.

From January 2002 until March 2007, Orr was President of Boeing Japan. He held this position during the development of the most successfully selling airplane in history, the 787 Dreamliner, 35 percent of which is made in Japan. Prior to joining Boeing, Dr. Orr was Vice President and Director of European Affairs for Motorola based in Brussels. And before that he held various senior level posts with Motorola in Japan culminating as Vice President of Government Relations. In that capacity, he successfully led the negotiations that opened up the cellular phone market in Japan.

In addition to the corporate world, the Ambassador also has spent many years in academia and the United States Government. Between 1985 and 1993 he was a professor of Political Science at Temple University in Japan with two years off to run the Kyoto Center for Japanese Studies and the Stanford Center for Technology and Innovation at the Stanford Japan Center in Kyoto. His book "The Emergence of Japan"s Foreign Aid Power," published by Columbia University Press, won the 1991 Ohira Prize for best book on the Asia Pacific.

Ambassador Orr's career began in 1976 when he served for two years as Legislative Assistant to Congressman Paul G. Rogers (D-FL) a 12 term member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Between 1978 and 1981 he served on the House Foreign Affairs Asia Subcommittee staff seconded from the Select Committee on Narcotics. In 1981 he was appointed as Special Assistant to the Assistant Administrator of Asia in the U.S. Agency for International Development in the Department of State.

Dr. Orr holds a B.A. in History, cum laude, from Florida Atlantic University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Tokyo University. He speaks German and Japanese fluently and has intermediate French.

Ambassadorial Post(s)

Asian Development Bank, (2010 - 2016)

Areas of Expertise

  • Multilateral - Policy