Abigail Friedman is senior advisor to The Asia Foundation. In that capacity, she directs the Foundation’s cooperation with Japan in Asia, brings her negotiating and conflict resolution expertise to programming on the root causes of conflict in Asia, and advises on conflict-affected and fragile regions, including Afghanistan.
Friedman brings to the Foundation over twenty years of experience as a U.S. diplomat. Prior to coming to The Asia Foundation, she served at the White House as National Security Council Director for Afghanistan, where she helped craft the President’s Afghanistan policy and led interagency efforts on the Afghan transition. Before that, she was the senior-most civilian embedded in a U.S. brigade in eastern Afghanistan, where she directed the civilian activities of four Provincial Reconstruction Teams and several District Support Teams. Earlier diplomatic assignments include several tours in Tokyo where her responsibilities included aligning U.S. and Japanese policy towards North Korea, and subsequent participation in the Six Party Talks on North Korea. Her involvement in peace negotiations also extends to the Balkans. At the 1995 Dayton Peace negotiations for Bosnia and Herzegovina, she negotiated with the international Contact Group to stand up an international police task force and to create an international governance structure for Bosnia. As U.S. Consul General in Quebec, she addressed environmental challenges in particular the impact of climate change on the Arctic territory of Nunavut.
Education: Friedman received her bachelor’s from Harvard University, and her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. She is fluent in French, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.