Timothy Carney ‘66 seeks out situations other people try to avoid. Carney built his career as an officer for the U.S. Foreign Service specializing in peacekeeping and stabilization in times of unrest. He was in Vietnam and Cambodia for the war years and went to South Africa and Lesotho as apartheid was ending. He moved on to Thailand and Indonesia for the years of their greatest economic upheaval, and he began to work with India and Pakistan as they became nuclear powers. He has also been the U.S. ambassador to Sudan and Haiti. In 2000, he retired to become a private consultant, but the government called him back in 2005 to help keep peace during the Haitian elections. Then he served as a State Department interim coördinator for worldwide reconstruction and stabilization.
Carney had already traveled the globe with his military family by the time he arrived at MIT as a freshman. At Baker House, he made friends he’s still close to 40 years later. He thought he wanted a career in physics, but he remembers wryly, “The nice thing about MIT is it brings you face to face with your strengths and weaknesses very quickly.” His strengths–he had strong interests in current events and anthropology–led him to a degree in history. After graduation he went to France to study French before joining the Foreign Service.
Most of Carney’s current consulting work helps private companies. “A company will hire me to do seminars on crisis response in countries that range from Sri Lanka to former communist countries,” he says. Now based in Washington, DC, he and his wife, Victoria Butler, wrote a book called Sudan: The Land and the People. An amateur photographer, Carney contributed some of the book’s images as well as text. He’s also written articles on present-day Iraq and his other passions–hunting and wildlife conservation.
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