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Matthew Nimetz

Matthew Nimetz
Undersecretary of State for International Security Affairs
In office
February 21, 1980 – December 5, 1980
President Jimmy Carter
Preceded by Lucy W. Benson
Succeeded by James L. Buckley
Personal details
Born Matthew Nimetz
(1939-06-17) June 17, 1939
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic Party (1976–present)
Alma mater Williams College,B.A., Balliol College, Oxford University, MA
Harvard Law School, LLB
Religion Judaism
Matthew Nimetz (left) with George Papandreou during a July 2009 meeting.

Matthew Nimetz (born June 17, 1939) is an American diplomat. He is the United Nations Special Representative for the naming dispute between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia.[1]

Personal background

Matthew Nimetz was born on June 17, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York City.[2] He is the son of Joseph and Elsie Nimetz[2] and educated in the Brooklyn public school system (Erasmus Hall High School, 1956) and at Williams College where he received a B.A. in 1960. He subsequently was a Rhodes Scholar and received a B.A. from Balliol College, Oxford in 1962 which was upgraded to an M.A. in 1966. He received his LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1965,[2] where he was President of the Harvard Law Review.


He served as law clerk to Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan II from 1965 to 1967, before serving as a staff assistant to US President Lyndon B. Johnson until 1969 where he worked on the domestic policy staff under Joseph A. Califano, Jr. He worked with the New York City law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett as an associate from 1969 to 1973 and partner from 1974 to 1977. He also directed the transition of Governor-Elect Hugh Carey of New York in 1974-5, and was a commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and member of the New York Health Advisory Council from 1975 to 1977.[2]

In January 1977, Nimetz was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as Counselor of the United States Department of State.[3] In that capacity he provided advice to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and had special responsibilities in connection with the Cyprus issue, Eastern Mediterrean issues including Greek-Turkish disputes, implementation of the Helsinki Final Act and other issues involving Eastern/Central Europe, U.S.-Mexican border issues, the Micronesian status negotiations, and other matters. In December 1979, he was promoted to the post of Under Secretary for Security Assistance, Science and Technology.[2] He was responsible for the supervision of United States security assistance programs, nuclear nonproliferation and the implementation of the State Department's international scientific and technological programs. These included areas such as scientific and technical cooperation, nuclear nonproliferation issues, environmental matters, and the US Government's international communications activities. He was also responsible for supervising US policy on the eastern Mediterranean and eastern European countries.[4]

After the end of the Carter Administration in January 1981, Nimetz returned to the private sector. He became a partner in the New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where he concentrated in corporate and international law. During his 19 year tenure at the Paul Weiss law firm he served on the Executive Committee, as chair of the firm and as head of the corporate department. He moved to the private equity investment firm General Atlantic LLC in January 2000, where he served as a managing director and as Chief Operating Officer through December 2011, when he became an Advisory Director. In May 2007 he was again appointed as a Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York by Governor Elliott Spitzer but, upon the resignation of Governor Spitzer, his nomination was not acted upon for confirmation by the State Senate.[5]

Matthew Nimetz meeting with the Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos in Athens in 2013

From March 1994 to September 1995, he served as President Bill Clinton's Special Envoy to mediate the resolution of the Macedonian Issue,[6] an awkward diplomatic situation, involving both a national name and a heritage dispute.[4] This effort culminated in the signing of the Interim Agreement of September 13, 1995 by Greece and the Republic of Macedonia at the United Nations which resolved many of the issues between the two countries. He became a deputy to Cyrus Vance, a former United States Secretary of State who served as Personal Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General in the talks on the remaining open issues in the dispute, in particular the name of the country. He chaired those talks from December 1999 onwards, as that Personal Envoy, from Vance's resignation from that position in December 1999, appointed in turn by Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon. Nimetz has been a director of The Nature Conservancy of New York, trustee and founding chair of World Resources Institute, trustee emeritus of Williams College and former director of the Committee for Economic Development., former chair of the advisory board of SUNY Global/The Levin Institute of the University of the State of New York from 2009 through 2014.

As of 2013, he serves as a trustee of Central European University, Budapest, a trustee of American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kirghiz Republic, As of 2014, a director/founding (former) chair of the Centre for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeastern Europe, Thessaloniki, Greece, as a trustee of The Rubin Museum of Art, New York, and as co-chair of Green City Force, Brooklyn, New York.


  1. ^ United Nations, Special and Personal Representatives and Envoys of the Secretary-General for Europe, Retrieved on 2008-03-19.
  2. ^ a b c d e
  3. ^ "Pres-elect Carter names 1 woman and 5 men to top State Dept posts". United Press International, 8 January 1977
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^ See more on the naming problem relating to the Macedonian Issue: Which nation is called "Slavic Macedonians"? And what's their connection with the original Macedonians? [1]
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