Richard M. Fairbanks, III
The Honorable Richard M. Fairbanks, III, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Layalina Productions died at his home, in Coconut Grove, Florida on February 6, 2013.
Mr. Fairbanks spent his professional life as a lawyer and in government service following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather Charles Warren Fairbanks, Vice-President under Theodore Roosevelt. A native of Indianapolis, Indiana, Mr. Fairbanks received his A.B. from Yale University on a NROTC scholarship and his J.D. magna cum laude from Columbia University School of Law where he was Business Manager of the Columbia Law Review and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. Between Yale and Columbia, Mr. Fairbanks served on active duty as a Regular Officer with the U.S. Navy as the Operations Officer of USS Zellars (DD-777), and later as Aide and Flag Lieutenant to the Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet.
Upon graduation from Columbia in 1969, Mr. Fairbanks spent two years as an associate attorney with the Washington law firm of Arnold & Porter. In 1971, Mr. Fairbanks was named the Special Assistant to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, William Ruckleshaus and also served as an Adjunct Professor of Environmental Law at Georgetown University Law Center from 1971 to 1972. In July 1971, he became a Staff Assistant at the White House Domestic Council and became Associate Director for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment of the Council in December 1972.
After leaving government service in 1974, Mr. Fairbanks was a founding partner of the Washington law firm which was known, prior to his departure in 1981, as Beveridge, Fairbanks & Diamond.
Mr. Fairbanks resumed government service in January 1981 when he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations. In February 1982, he was named Special Advisor to the Secretary of State with the rank of Ambassador and his first assignment in that position was Special Negotiator for the Middle East Peace Process. In January 1984, President Reagan nominated Mr. Fairbanks to become Ambassador at Large. He was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in April 1984. His major assignment in that capacity was to develop Pacific Basin co-operative efforts for the U.S.
In September 1985, Ambassador Fairbanks left government service to resume private law practice as a partner in the Washington office of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky, & Walker, where he assumed responsibility as Managing Partner from December 1988 to February 1992. From 1988 to 1991, Mr. Fairbanks served on the Investment Policy Advisory Committee of the U.S. Trade Representative. In May 1991 President Bush named Mr. Fairbanks to serve on the President's Task Force on U.S. Government International Broadcasting.
In February 1992, Mr. Fairbanks was named Senior Counsel at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. In March 1994 he became Managing Director of Domestic and International Issues, and was named President and CEO in May 1999. In April of 2000, he became a Counselor at the Center, where he is also a Trustee.
From 1986 through 1992, Mr. Fairbanks was President of the U.S. National Committee of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC). During 1991- 92, he was International Chairman of the twenty nations comprising PECC. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the U.S. Asia Pacific Council. His other activities include: Member, Boards of Directors: SEACOR Holdings and Clarion Industries; Board of Visitors, Columbia University School of Law; Member, Council on Foreign Relations; and Board Member, Council of American Ambassadors.
Following the events of 9/11, Mr. Fairbanks became the founding Chairman of Layalina Productions, a U.S. Arabic language television company producing new cross-cultural "television diplomacy" programs to improve relations between the United States and the Muslim world.
Mr. Fairbanks is survived by his wife Ann, his two sons Woods, of Seattle, Washington and Jonathan, of Houston, Texas, and six grandchildren.