Omaha Ambassadors Forum 2018


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

11:30 AM - 2:00 PM

UNO Thompson Alumni Center

University of Nebraska Omaha

Click here to register

  The title for the 2018 Omaha Ambassadors Forum (OAF) is: “The Administration’s Foreign and Trade Policy One Year In: A Selected Scorecard”. The administration of President Donald Trump is in its second year; it faces a raft of diplomatic challenges around the world: a resurgent and assertive Russia; the rising economic and military authority of China; the security challenges presented by extremist Islamic terrorism; and the dawn of North Korea as a nuclear power. Intensifying these challenges from abroad are challenges at home from an administration that is calling into question many of the principles and values that have guided U.S. foreign policy for over 70 years. Each of the ambassadors presenting at this year’s OAF brings extensive experience, expertise, and knowledge gained from decades of working on the front lines of American diplomacy. We look forward to hearing from our distinguished guests and to the insight each brings to the discussion.


Ambassador James F. Collins is Senior Fellow andformer Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is an expert on the former Soviet Union, its successor states, and on the Middle East. Ambassador Collins, a retired career member of the U.S. Foreign Service, served as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation from 1997 to 2001. Prior to that assignment he held positions as Ambassador-at-Large and Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for the New Independent States in the mid 1990s and as deputy chief of mission and charge d’affaires at the American Embassy, Moscow from 1990 to 1993. In addition to three diplomatic postings in Moscow, he also served in the American Embassy in Amman, Jordan and the Consulate General in Izmir, Turkey, positions in the European and Near East bureaus and the executive offices at the Department of State, and on the National Security Council Staff at the White House. Following retirement from government service, Ambassador Collins worked as Senior Advisor at the public law and policy practice group Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. prior to joining the Carnegie endowment in 2007. He has been active on the boards of non-profit organizations concerned with U.S. foreign policy and U.S. relations with Russia, East Europe and Eurasia, serving as co Chairman of the Board of the U.S.-Russia Foundation, and as a member of the boards of the U.S.-Russia Business Council, the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Open World Leadership Center, and American Councils for International Education. He is the recipient of the Secretary of State’s Award for Distinguished Service; the Department of State’s Distinguished Honor Award; the Secretary of State’s Award for Career Achievement; the Departmentof Defense Medalfor Distinguished Public Service, the NASA Medal for Distinguished Service, and the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service.   Earl Anthony Wayne served as an American diplomat from 1975 to 2015. The U.S. Senate confirmed him as a Career Ambassador, the highest rank in the US Foreign Service, in 2010. He is currently a Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Senior Non-Resident Advisor at the Atlantic Council and at the Center for Security and International Studies. Wayne is an advisor for HSBC Bank in Mexico and Latin America on countering illicit finance. In addition, Wayne was elected Treasurer of the American Foreign Service Association and chairs its PAC. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico (2011-15), Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs and Deputy U.S. Ambassador in Kabul, Afghanistan (2009-2011), and U.S. Ambassador to Argentina (2006-2009). Wayne worked for three Secretaries of State as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs (EB) (2000-2006). Prior to his service with EB, Wayne worked as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe and Canada, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, and Director for Western Europe at the National Security Council. He received a number of Presidential, State Department and other awards during his service, including most recently the 2017 Director General’s Cup for the Foreign Service and the 2015 Cobb Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development. Wayne has an MPA from the JFK School of Government, Harvard University, an MA from Princeton University, an MA from Stanford University, and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.  

Ambassador Susan L. Ziadeh enjoyed a 23-year career with the U.S. Department of State where she most recently served as the acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Peninsula Affairs (2014-2016). She served as the U.S. Ambassador to the State of Qatar from 2011-2014. She held senior leadership positions in Riyadh, Baghdad, and Bahrain as well as postings in Kuwait, Amman and Jerusalem. Currently a Middle East strategic advisor based in Washington, Ambassador Ziadeh is also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. Ambassador Ziadeh is a non- resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, a member of the Middle East Institute’s Board of Governors, a member of the International Advisors Council for the American University of Beirut, Lebanon and a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy. A recipient of the Department of State’s Distinguished Honor Award, she also received the Department of State’s 2007 Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy and the 2014 Arnold L. Raphel Memorial Award for Leadership. In 2015, she was awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Department’s highest civilian award. A Fulbright scholar in Egypt and Lebanon, Ambassador Ziadeh earned a PhD in History from the University of Michigan, an M.A. from the American University of Beirut, an M.S. from the National War College, National Defense University, and a B.A. from the University of Washington.  

Ambassador Deborah A. McCarthy is an international security strategist with over 30 years of experience in leadership, teamwork and negotiations at the highest levels of government and private sector in Europe, the Western Hemisphere and the U.S. Until November, 2017, she was the Executive Director of the Diversity and Leadership in International Affairs Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She served as the U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania (2013-2016). Previously (2010-2013) she was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State, leading high level negotiations to advance U.S. economic interests. Ms. McCarthy also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Greece and the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua. In Washington, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Narcotics and Law Enforcement, Senior Advisor for Counter Terrorism and Special Coordinator for Venezuela. Other posting include: Consul General in Montreal, Economic Counselor U.S. Embassy Paris, Financial Economist U.S. Embassy Rome and assignments in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Ms. McCarthy received a B.A. in Economics from the University of Virginia and a double Masters in Economics and Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She is a member of the Atlantic Council, the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, the International Women’s Forum and the Women’s Foreign Policy Group. She is a member of the Advisory Board of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and of the Policy Council of the Una Chapman Cox Foundation.

Click here for a program flyer for the event