John Ordway is a retired Foreign Service Officer who is the U.S. Commissioner for the New START Treaty’s Bilateral Consultative Commission. He served as Ambassador to Kazakhstan (2004-2008) and to Armenia (2001-2004). He was Director of African Affairs at the National Security Council during the George H.W. Bush Administration, as well as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow from 1999-2001. Following retirement from the Foreign Service in 2008, he was Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, Austria from
May to July 2009; Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria from August to November 2009; Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal from December 2009 to January 2010 and Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Prague, Czech Republic from May through October 2010. He was also Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Astana, Kazakhstan for two extended periods, January-September 2011, and October 2013-December 2014. Born in California, Ambassador Ordway graduated from Stanford University and the University of California’s Hastings College of Law before entering the Foreign Service in 1975. He also did a year of graduate study in Soviet and Eastern European Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
Ambassador Ordway has an extensive background in the Soviet and post-Soviet world, with in-depth experience in a broad range of issues ranging from arms control and nonproliferation, to investment disputes and energy, as well as domestic politics and human rights. His first Foreign Service assignment was in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He is a fluent Russian speaker, has traveled extensively in the region, and served twice at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow (1985-87 and 1996-2001) before becoming ambassador to Armenia and then Kazakhstan. In Washington, he served twice in the Office of Soviet Union Affairs.
Earlier in his career, Ambassador Ordway was a participant in the U.S. negotiating team that resolved the Angola-Namibia conflict, leading to the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola and the independence of Namibia. He continued to develop expertise in conflict resolution and peacekeeping operations during his assignment to the U.S. Mission to NATO, where he was the U.S. member of the Alliance’s Political Committee.
Ambassador Ordway has received numerous State Department awards. He was the runner-up for the 2008 Charles Cobb Award as the ambassador who had contributed the most to commercial diplomacy, and received awards from the American Chambers of Commerce in Russia, Armenia and Kazakhstan. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition to Russian, his languages include Czech, Italian, French, Spanish, German and basic Armenian and Kazakh.
Ambassador Ordway and his wife, Maryjo, now live near Sacramento, California. They have two adult children.