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William D. Clark was born in Featherstone, England, in 1916. He obtained a first-class honors degree in modern history from Oxford University, and was the Commonwealth fellow and lecturer in humanities at the University of Chicago from 1938 to 1940.
From 1941 to 1944 he was attached to the British Information Services, U.K. Ministry of Information, in Chicago. Beginning in 1945, he served for a year as the press attach? for the British Embassy in Washington, and from 1946 to 1949 he was the London editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Clark became the diplomatic correspondent of The Observer in 1950. From 1955 to 1956 he was the public relations adviser to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, resigning in the wake of the Suez Canal crisis. In 1957 and 1958 he was the New Delhi correspondent for both The Observer and The Economist, and between 1958 and 1960 he edited a column called The Week for The Observer. In 1960 he was appointed the first Director of the Overseas Development Institute in London.
On 1 April 1968 Clark became Director of Information for the World Bank Group. In 1973 he became the Director of External Relations, and in 1974 the Vice President for External Relations. In 1980 he resigned from the Bank and returned to London to become the President of the International Institute for Environment and Development. He died in 1985.