Manuel Sager

Senior Lecturing Fellow


Manuel Sager has served as the ambassador of Switzerland to the United States since 2010. He will become Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the foreign ministry’s directorate in charge of Switzerland’s international cooperation, on Nov. 1, 2014. At Duke Law School, Sager teaches Development Finance.

Sager began his diplomatic career in 1988 when he joined Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and was posted as a diplomat in training in Bern and Athens. From 1990 to 1995, he worked in the FDFA’s Directorate of International Law in Bern, specializing in international humanitarian law. From 1995 to 1999, he served as deputy consul general in New York, and from 1999 to 2001as head of communications of the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, D.C. From 2001 to 2002, he headed the Coordination Office for Humanitarian Law, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the Partnership for Peace, of the Directorate of International Law. He then served as head of communications, first in the FDFA and then in the Federal Department of Economic Affairs until 2005. From 2005 to 2008, Sager served as executive director, with the title of ambassador, at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London, and then headed the Political Affairs Division in the FDFA responsible for coordinating thematic foreign policy until 2010, also with the title of ambassador.

Sager formally presented his credentials as ambassador of Switzerland to the United States to President Barack Obama on Dec. 7, 2010.

In 1995, while already working as a diplomat at the FDFA Sager, who had received his LLM at Duke Law in 1985, received a PhD from the Law School of the University of Zurich. Prior to joining the diplomatic service, Sager practiced law at O’Connor Cavanagh in Phoenix, Arizona.