Retired Ambassador and non-profit executive Robert Sherwood Dillon spent more than 30 years in the U.S. Foreign Service. He had assignments in Venezuela, Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt, Lebanon and in the Department of State. Senior assignments were as Special Assistant to Undersecretaries Charles Bohlen and U. Alexis Johnson in Washington and overseas as Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. embassies in Malaysia, Turkey, and Egypt. He served as Ambassador to Lebanon for two and a half years from 1981 to 1983 where he survived the bombing of the American Embassy in 1983. He retired from the Foreign Service with the rank of Career Minister.
Following retirement, Mr. Dillon joined the United Nations (U.N.) as Assistant Secretary General, serving for almost five years as Deputy Commissioner General of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. He was headquartered in Vienna, Austria and traveled frequently to the agency’s fields of operation in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza.
Mr. Dillon became President and CEO of America-Mideast Education and Training Services, Inc. (AMIDEAST) in September 1988 and retired from that position in June 1995. AMIDEAST is a private non-profit organization that promotes understanding and cooperation between Americans and the people of the Middle East and North Africa through education, information, and development assistance programs. During 1994 and 1995, Mr. Dillon carried out an assignment for the United Nations as Special Humanitarian Envoy for Rwanda and Burundi. Immediately following his retirement from AMIDEAST, he directed a 6-month missing persons investigation in Cyprus on behalf of the Department of State.
Robert Dillon received a B.A. in English Literature from Duke University in 1951. He did a year of graduate work at Princeton University (1958-59) in economics and Middle Eastern Studies. He served for 18 months in the U.S. Army (infantry) from 1947-1948. Before entering the Foreign Service in February 1956, he worked for the CIA for five years (1951-1956). During the Korean War he served as a CIA intelligence officer operating with Chinese Nationalist guerrillas along the coast of China.
Mr. Dillon was born on January 7, 1929 in Chicago. He came to Washington, D.C. at the age of three weeks and moved to Northern Virginia at the age of three. His wife, the former Caroline Sue Dillon, to whom he was married for 61 years, died in January 2013. They had five children and nine grandchildren.