THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Donald K. Bandler,
69, a retired
Foreign Service officer and former ambas-
sador, died on Feb. 24 in Bethesda, Md., of
complications from early-onset Alzheim-
Mr. Bandler was born April 19, 1947,
in Philadelphia, Pa., to Fred and Estelle
Bandler. He grew up in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.,
with his two younger sisters, Beth and
Amy. He graduated fromKenyon College
with a B.A. in political science with honors,
and also earned a J.D. fromGeorge Wash-
ington University and anM.A. in liberal
arts from St. John’s College.
Mr. Bandler took the Foreign Service
exam in 1974 at the U.S. consulate in
Kaduna, Nigeria, while teaching at Gov-
ernment Teachers’ College in Bida with his
newwife, Jane Goldwin Bandler. He joined
the Foreign Service in 1976.
Mr. Bandler was attending night law
school at George Washington University,
and the State Department allowed him to
complete his degree before being posted
overseas. After serving in the Bureau
of African Affairs (1976-1978), he was
detailed to the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace to direct the ‘Face to
Face’ program (1978-1979).
He then did congressional liaison work
(1979-1980), and had the exciting experi-
ence of traveling withMohammed Ali on a
diplomatic mission tomany African coun-
tries to encourage them to joinWashing-
ton in boycotting the 1980 Olympics.
In 1980 Mr. Bandler was posted to
Yaoundé as a political officer. He returned
toWashington in 1982 to serve as special
assistant on the Policy Planning Staff, and
went on to the Office of European Security
and Political Affairs in the Bureau of
European Affairs in 1983, where he served
as the coordinator for the Conference on
Security and Cooperation in Europe.
From 1985 to 1989, Mr. Bandler served
as the head of political-military affairs in
Paris. Besides the fascinating work, the
thrill of becoming fluent in French and
spending every vacation visiting all corners
of the beautiful country, his third child,
Jeffrey, was born in Paris in 1987.
From 1989 to 1993 the Bandler family
was posted in Bonn, where Mr. Bandler
was minister-counselor for political
and legal affairs. He participated in the
diplomacy leading to German unification
and led the U.S. effort to negotiate a new
legal basis for the presence of U.S. forces in
Germany. It was a fascinating time to be in
Germany, close to the action as the Berlin
Wall came tumbling down.
Mr. Bandler participated in the Senior
Seminar in 1993. He spoke fondly of the
many experiences he had during that year
reacquainting himself with America and
its diversity. From 1994 to 1995 he was
director of Israel and Arab-Israel affairs at
State and had an active role inMiddle East
peace process negotiations that yielded
bilateral andmultilateral agreements.
Mr. Bandler was deputy chief of mission
(DCM) and then chargé d’affaires in Paris
from 1995 to 1997, serving under Ambas-
sador Pamela Harriman, who sadly passed
away during his second year as DCM.
From 1997 to January 1999, Mr. Bandler
was special assistant to the president and
senior director on the National Security
Council, responsible for U.S. relations
with Europe and Canada. From January to
May 1999, he was special assistant to the
president and counselor to the National
Security Advisor for the 42-nation NATO
Summit, the largest gathering of world
leaders ever held inWashington, D.C.
Mr. Bandler was appointed U.S. ambas-
sador to Cyprus from 1999 to 2002. During
his tenure, Ambassador Bandler fell in love
with Cyprus and traveled to all corners of
the country to photograph its beauty. He
held an exhibit of his photos in Cyprus and
also published them in book form.
Amb. Bandler retired from the Foreign
Service in 2002 and spent the next six
years working as a consultant with several
international firms, including Kissinger-
McLarty Associates inWashington, D.C.
In 2008 he did a six-month stint at the
University of Southern California, Los
Angeles, as a diplomat-in-residence. He
donated his collection of Cypriot pho-
tographs to the Fisher Museumof Art at
USC, where they were exhibited (“Donald
Bandler: A Roving Eye on Cyprus”) while
he was in residence.
He also had an exhibit at Waverly Gal-
lery in Bethesda, Md., in 2010, and won
several prizes for his photography from
In retirement, Amb. Bandler partici-
pated in the Boys toMen national organi-
zation, mentoring boys who needed role
models and encouragement. He was an
active member of the Council on Foreign
Relations, the Washington Institute of
Foreign Affairs and the American Academy
After receiving a diagnosis of early-
onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2008, Amb.
Bandler became an active advocate with
the Alzheimer’s Association. He continued
to travel, taking a trip around the world
(Hawaii, Japan, Malaysia, China, India,
Russia and Portugal) with his wife in 2010.
He visitedMachu Picchu in 2011.
Amb. Bandler received the State
Department’s Superior Honor Award
on four occasions, and was awarded the
French Legion of Honor in 1998.
Amb. Bandler was very proud of his
family. He is survived by his loving wife,
Jane Goldwin Bandler; his daughter Lara
Hogan (and her husband, Chad) of Los
Angeles; his daughter Jillian Parekh (and
her husband, Neel) of New York City; and
his son Jeffrey of Los Angeles; his grand-
sons, Jasper, Nikhil and Zion; and his
sisters, Beth and Amy and their families.