Ambassador John T. Hennessey-Niland Joins Bush School

Ambassador John T. Hennessey-Niland Joins Bush School

Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government & Public Service is pleased to announce the appointment of Ambassador John T. Hennessey-Niland to Professor of the Practice in the Department of International Affairs.

Hennessey-Niland is retiring from the U.S. Department of State where he most recently served as the U.S. Ambassador to Palau. With a diplomatic career spanning more than 35 years, he is considered one of the most experienced “Pacific hands” in the U.S. Department of State. He will be teaching courses in American diplomacy and other diplomacy-related courses.

Hennessey-Niland replaces Ambassador (Ret.) Larry Napper, who will be retiring from the Bush School at the end of this fall’s semester.

“We are so fortunate to have Ambassador Hennessey-Niland join the Bush School.,” said Mark Welsh, Dean of the Bush School. “His expertise in diplomacy, coupled with his first-hand experience in the Pacific, will provide our International Affairs students with an exceptional educational opportunity.”

Dean Welsh added “We are grateful to Ambassador Napper for the past 12 years he’s spent with the Bush School. Under his guidance, our Master’s Program in International Affairs and the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs both made terrific strides. Our students have benefitted greatly from Ambassador Napper’s expertise in Russia and central Europe.”

Hennessey-Niland’s previous roles include White House National Security Council, United Nations War Crimes Investigator in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and at a number of posts in Europe and the Pacific. He also was the “POLAD” foreign policy advisor, to the Commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific (MARFORPAC) in Hawaii. Hennessey-Niland is retiring from the U.S. Foreign service after 35 years.

He was entrusted by the White House to be the first U.S. Ambassador to visit Taiwan since 1979 and is an advocate for expanding U.S. engagement with Taipei.  His work with Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Secretary Kerry, helped ensure the annual Our Ocean Conference (OOC) was held in 2022 for the first time in the Pacific and in an island nation.

The Department of International Affairs is part of a newly expanded Bush School of Government & Public Service. The Texas A&M Department of Political Science is becoming a part of the Bush School in the upcoming academic year. Plans are in development to add undergraduate degree programs in both the existing Bush School departments – Public Service and Administration and International Affairs.

To learn more about the Bush School and its academic programs, visit