Diplomacy is vital to protecting Americans at home and abroad, advancing the nation’s security interests, and opening markets for American goods. However, this critical resource requires reinvestment and modernization to meet the rising challenge of changing geo-political landscapes and priorities. Central to achieving that objective is enhancing the professional capacity of America’s diplomats to maximize the promotion of U.S. national interests.
While the State Department’s footprint has grown from 41 diplomatic posts throughout the world in 1900 to more than 270 missions today, the need to increase the ability to hire and retain the highest quality individuals continues. In a dynamic and significantly connected world, what does our nation need from those representing us on the diplomatic front? How can the diplomatic corps be prepared for future opportunities and unexpected disruptions? Global Minnesota hosted a conversation with Ambassador and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ronald Neumann about his recommendations to modernize America’s diplomacy. Ambassador Neumann shared his personal insights and provide a behind-the-scenes look at diplomacy from his long career representing the United States.
About Ambassador Neumann:
Formerly a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Ronald E. Neumann served three times as Ambassador; to Algeria, Bahrain and finally to Afghanistan from July 2005 to April 2007. Before Afghanistan, Mr. Neumann, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, served in Baghdad from February 2004 with the Coalition Provisional Authority and then as Embassy Baghdad’s liaison with the Multinational Command, where he was deeply involved in coordinating the political part of military actions.
Prior to working in Iraq, he was Ambassador in Manama, Bahrain (2001-2004), Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near East Affairs (1997-2000) with responsibility for North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and Ambassador to Algeria (1994 to 1997). He was Director of the Office of Northern Gulf Affairs (Iran and Iraq; 1991 to 1994). Earlier in his career, he was Deputy Chief of Mission in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and in Sanaa in Yemen, Principal Officer in Tabriz, Iran and Economic/Commercial Officer in Dakar, Senegal. His previous Washington assignments include service as Jordan Desk officer, Staff Assistant in the Middle East (NEA) Bureau, and Political Officer in the Office of Southern European Affairs.
Ambassador Neumann serves as the President at the American Academy of Diplomacy where he has focused particularly on efforts to maintain adequate State and USAID budgets and staffing and upgrade professional formation to enable these institutions to carry out their responsibilities. He is on the Advisory Board of a non-profit girls’ school in Afghanistan, the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA) and the Advisory Board of Spirit of America. He is on the board of the Middle East Policy Council and the Advisory Council of the World Affairs Councils of America. He speaks some Arabic and Dari as well as French.
Presented in partnership with the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Una Chapman Cox Foundation, and the ASU Leadership, Diplomacy, & National Security Lab.
Thanks to promotional sponsors the Committee on Foreign Relations Minnesota, the Minnesota International NGO Network, and the United Nations Association of Minnesota.
Watch the recording below!
Or listen on the go with our podcast recording!