James A. Baker III served in senior positions during three presidential administrations, as under secretary of commerce for President Ford, secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan, and secretary of state for President George H.W. Bush.
As secretary of state, Baker traveled to 90 countries during the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the post–Cold War period, including the Gulf War and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He played an instrumental role with NATO in the reunification of Germany. Shortly thereafter, he represented the United States in the 1991 Geneva Peace Conference; helped build the international, political, and military coalition that defeated Iraqi forces in Kuwait; and led the Madrid Peace Conference, an effort to negotiate an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Baker was the 2012 recipient of the Great Negotiator Award, honored for his success as a dynamic leader, brilliant negotiator, and statesman. He is widely considered to be one of the most effective U.S. secretaries of state in the post–World War II era.