In 2007-2008, he served as a senior foreign policy adviser to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, a role he also performed during the Clinton presidential campaign of 1991-1992. He has managed a full range of foreign policy, national security, humanitarian and development issues at the most senior levels: as National Security Advisor (1993-1997) under President Bill Clinton, and as Director of Policy Planning in President Carter’s administration (1977-1981). He joined the US State Department in 1962 as a Foreign Service Officer.
Upon leaving the government, he served as the United States President’s Special Envoy, first in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and later in Haiti, from 1998 to 2000.
His experience in international development began in the 1970s, as Director of International Voluntary Services, leading the work of this ‘private Peace Corps’. In that same decade, he also served on the boards of Save the Children (1975–1977) and the Overseas Development Council. Over the past 10 years, Anthony Lake has been an International Adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross (2000-2003) and Chair of the Marshall Legacy Institute, which works in conflict-affected countries to remove landmines and assist survivors, and advance children's rights.
Anthony Lake’s ties with UNICEF are long-standing, dating back to 1993, when he worked with UNICEF’s third Executive Director, James P. Grant, on the organization’s presentation of its flagship publication, ‘The State of the World’s Children’, at the White House. From 1998 to 2007 he served on the Board of the US Fund for UNICEF, with a term as Chair from 2004 to 2007, after which he was appointed a permanent honorary member.
Immediately prior to his appointment with UNICEF, Anthony Lake served as Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees at Mount Holyoke College and a member of the Advisory Council of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and has served on the Governance Board of the Center for the Study of Democracy at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
He obtained a B.A. degree from Harvard in 1961, read international economics at Trinity College, Cambridge, and went on to receive his Ph.D. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1974.
A native of New York, Anthony Lake is married and has three children and five grandchildren.