Born May 14, 1920 in New York City of Armenian parents, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia College in 1941 and a Master of Science degree from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism in 1942.
In World War II he served on the staffs of Generals Eisenhower and Bradley in the Psychological Warfare Division of the European Theatre of Operations preparing a daily analysis of Nazi propaganda. After the war, from 1946-50 he worked for Sir Laurence Olivier as public relations director in the United States and Canada for the two Shakespeare films Henry V and Hamlet.
In 1950 the State Department asked him to organize and recruit personnel for the Transcaucasian Branch of the Voice of America and to initiate broadcasts to the Soviet Union in Armenian, Azeri, Uzbek and Tatar. He was then appointed Chief of the Armenian Service and remained so for ten years.
In 1959 he was sworn into the Foreign Service and assigned to West Berlin as the Political-Cultural Officer at RIAS (Radio In The American Sector) which broadcast news, political and cultural programs to East Germany.
Five years later he entered the Foreign Service Institute to study Hungarian followed by tours of duty in Budapest and later Athens and East Berlin as Counselor for Public Affairs at all respective American Embassies. During one intervening Washington assignment, from 1969-72, the United States Information Agency appointed him Deputy Director for the Soviet Union and East Europe, in which capacity he traveled extensively throughout the Soviet bloc countries overseeing press and cultural activities. He also participated in the visit of President Kennedy to Berlin in 1963 and President Nixon to Bucharest in 1969.
Retiring from the Foreign Service in 1980 he served on the Board for International Broadcasting supervising broadcasts by Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Two years later he returned to the State Department working on Freedom of Information. In 1985-6, the State Department appointed him to the United States Human Rights Delegation and also its Spokesman, attending conferences in Ottawa, Budapest and Berne in follow-ups to the Helsinki Final Act.
In 1989 the State Department and the White House again called him out of retirement to serve as Escort-Interpreter when, following the earthquake in Armenia, the Supreme Patriarch Catholicos Vazgen I visited Washington to express the gratitude of the Armenian nation to President Bush in the Oval Office. He performed the same function shortly thereafter when Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan called at the White House.
Edward Alexander is the author of three books: The Serpent and the Bees, chronicling his experiences with agents of the KGB; A Crime of Vengeance, relating the story of the Turkish genocide of the Armenians as revealed in the Berlin trial of an Armenian student who assassinated the former Grand Vizier and instigator of the genocide; and Opus, a suspense novel that takes place in Hungary during the Cold War involving diplomacy and three intelligence agencies.
Mr. Alexander has written articles for a wide variety of publications, the Foreign Service Journal, Shakespeare Quarterly, Problems of Communism, Caucasian Review, Reader’s Digest, Ararat Quarterly, Armenian Review, and newspapers.
He has visited Armenia three times: first in 1967 when it was still under Soviet domination; again in 1994 when it was independent; and the third time in 1997 when he was invited by the Foreign Minister to serve as public affairs advisor.
Edward Alexander resides in Bethesda, Maryland.
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