CEO Abigail Friedman founded The Wisteria Group in 2014. Abigail brings to The Wisteria Group over 25 years of experience as a U.S. diplomat with particular expertise in international negotiations and conflict resolution. As White House National Security Council Director for Afghanistan in the Obama administration she advised the President on Afghanistan policy, led the interagency effort on Afghanistan’s economic and political transition, and negotiated the U.S.-Afghan Strategic Partnership. Prior to that, she was embedded in a U.S. brigade in Afghanistan where she managed an international development team across four provinces.
Earlier diplomatic assignments include postings in Japan, France, Canada, and Portugal. In Tokyo, her responsibilities included aligning U.S. and Japanese policy towards North Korea and subsequent participation in the Six Party Talks on North Korea. Her involvement in peace negotiations also extends to the Balkans. At the 1995 Dayton Peace negotiations for Bosnia and Herzegovina, she negotiated with the international Contact Group to stand up an international police task force and to create an international governance structure for Bosnia. As U.S. Consul General in Quebec (2004-7), she addressed environmental challenges in particular the impact of climate change on the Arctic territory of Nunavut. She is a senior advisor to The Asia Foundation, directing the Foundation’s cooperation with Japan in Asia and advising on conflict-affected and fragile regions, including Afghanistan.
Abigail is the recipient of five State Department Individual Superior Honor Awards, and the Médaille d’or de la défense nationale from the French Ministry of Defense. She received her B.A. with honors in History and Science from Harvard University, and her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. She is fluent in French, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.
In addition to her diplomatic and international relations career, Abigail is an award-winning haiku poet and the author of two books on Japanese haiku, The Haiku Apprentice, Memoirs of Writing Poetry in Japan (Stone Bridge Press, 2006), and I Wait for the Moon: 100 Haiku of Momoko Kuroda (Stone Bridge Press, 2014). A collection of her own English-language haiku, Street Chatter Fading, was published by Larkspur Press in 2015.
Abigail is a Senior Associate (non-resident) with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She is on the Board of Trustees of the Japan-America Society of Washington, D.C., and of The Awesome Foundation (D.C. Chapter). She is a member of the Cosmos Club.