Amb. David Pearce

Listen to Amb. Pearce on Episode 12: Tending The Garden: US Interests In The Mediterranean

In his diplomatic and journalistic career Maine native David D. Pearce has always done the hard things in the hard places. As a wire service reporter, he covered revolution in Lisbon, civil war in Beirut, and political and economic change in the Arab world.  He met his wife, Leyla, while serving in Lebanon as United Press International’s Chief Middle East Correspondent, and both of their children were born in Beirut.  As a writer-editor with the National Geographic’s book service, he traveled with a photographer to Southeast China as the country was just beginning to open up to the outside world, and authored the concluding chapter of the 1982 NGS book Journey Into China.  

Joining the U.S. Department of State next, Pearce learned Arabic and served over three decades in 11 overseas posts throughout Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.  He was political section chief in Kuwait when Iraq invaded and deputy chief of mission in Syria for four years, during which time the embassy was attacked by mobs twice.  He was Consul General in Dubai, Consul General and Chief of Mission in Jerusalem, Assistant Chief of Mission in Afghanistan (an ambassador-level assignment), and Ambassador to both Algeria and Greece.   In addition, Pearce held senior-level positions at the State Department in Washington, with responsibility for Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.   He received numerous awards for his work, including two Presidential Distinguished Service awards and AFSA’s Matilda W. Sinclaire award for foreign language proficiency.  He is author of the 1995 book Wary Partners: Diplomats and the Media, which Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering called “an excellent guide for all of us in dealing with the press”.   

In November 2016, Pearce retired from the U.S. Department of State as a Career Minister, the second-highest rank attainable in the Foreign Service.  Since then, he has drawn on his experience to address high school, college, and civic groups about the importance of U.S. diplomatic engagement abroad and public service as a career.  Some of these themes are reflected in the blog he writes on his website ( ).  He also echoes them in an active social media presence, which includes a Twitter account (@daviddpearce) with over 4,500 followers from all over the world.

Pearce is a member of AFSA, DACOR, the Middle East Institute, the World Affairs Council of Portland, Maine, and the World Affairs Council of Orange County, California.   An avid and self- taught watercolor artist, he designed and built his website to showcase paintings and sketches done during overseas tours in Algeria, Afghanistan, and Greece, as well as more recent works from Maine and California.