John Dimitri Negroponte is a diplomat and a former Director of National Intelligence, and former Deputy Secretary of State (under the Bush and Obama administrations).

Negroponte served in the United States Foreign Service from 1960 to 1997. From 1981 to 1996, he had tours of duty as United States ambassador in Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines. After leaving the Foreign Service, he subsequently served in the Bush Administration as U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations from 2001 to 2004 and was ambassador to Iraq from June 2004 to April 2005. In November 2010, some of Negroponte’s letters were released on the website WikiLeaks.

John Dimitri Negroponte was born in London on July 21, 1939, to Dimitri John Negroponte and Catherine Coumantaros Negroponte. His father was a Greek shipping magnate. Negroponte graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1956, and Yale University in 1960. He was a member of the Psi Upsilon fraternity, alongside William H.T. Bush, the uncle of President George W. Bush, and Porter Goss, who served as Director of Central Intelligence and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Negroponte from 2005 to 2006.

Negroponte later served at eight different Foreign Service posts in Asia, Europe, and Latin America; and he also held important positions at the State Department and the White House. In 1981, he became the U.S. ambassador to Honduras. From 1985 to 1987, Negroponte held the position of Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Subsequently, he served as Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, from 1987 to 1989; Ambassador to Mexico, from 1989 to 1993; and Ambassador to the Philippines from 1993 to 1996. As Deputy National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, he was involved in the campaign to remove from power General Manuel Noriega in Panama.

“Very hard to represent a country,

or carry out a policy that does not have consensus support.”

Negroponte speaks five languages (English, French, Greek, Spanish, and Vietnamese). He is the elder brother of Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab and of the One Laptop per Child project. His brother Michel Negroponte is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker, and his other brother, George Negroponte, is an artist. Negroponte and his wife, the former Diana Mary Villiers, have five adopted children: Marina, Alejandra, John, George, and Sophia. They were married on December 14, 1976.

John Negroponte speaks about his Greek background: