Ambassadors Panel at American University
On October 28th, the American University International Relations Society and the American Academy of Diplomacy cohosted an online panel event focusing on how IR practitioners and former ambassadors view academia. The panel, moderated by Academy President Ronald Neumann, featured Ambassador Barbara Bodine, Ambassador Reuben Brigety, and Ambassador Deborah McCarthy.
Ambassador (ret.) Barbara K. Bodine is a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy and concurrent Director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University. Prior to joining Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, she taught and directed policy task forces and policy workshops on US diplomacy in the Persian Gulf region, including Iraq and Yemen for seven years at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and served as Director of the School’s Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative, a fellowship program for students pursuing careers in federal service.
Ms. Bodine’s over 30 years in the US Foreign Service were spent primarily on Arabian Peninsula and greater Persian Gulf issues, specifically US bilateral and regional policy, strategic security issues, counterterrorism, and governance and reform. Her tour as Ambassador to the Republic of Yemen, 1997-2001, saw enhanced support for democratization and increased security and counterterrorism cooperation. Ms. Bodine also served in Baghdad as Deputy Principal Officer during the Iran-Iraq War, Kuwait as Deputy Chief of Mission during the Iraqi invasion and occupation of 1990-1991, and again, seconded to the Department of Defense, in Iraq in 2003 as the senior State Department official and the first coalition coordinator for reconstruction in Baghdad and the central governorates. Her first assignment in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs was as Country Officer for the two Yemens and security assistance coordinator for the peninsula. She later returned to that office as Deputy Director.
In addition to several other assignments in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, she was Deputy for Operations, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism and subsequently acting overall Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Director of East African Affairs, Dean of the School of Professional Studies at the Foreign Service Institute, and Senior Advisor for International Security Negotiations and Agreements in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Ambassador Bodine is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Secretary’s Award for Valor for her work in Occupied Kuwait. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Academy of American Diplomacy, co-chair of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training, an associate fellow of The Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and a member of The Council on Foreign Relations.
Since leaving the government, Ambassador Bodine has been founding Director of the Governance Initiative in the Middle East and Senior Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government and the Robert Wilhelm Fellow at MIT’s Center for International Studies. She is past president of the Mine Awareness Group, America, a global NGO that provides technical expertise for the removal of remnants of conflict worldwide.
A native of St. Louis, Mo., Ms. Bodine is a Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara in Political Science and East Asian Studies, and earned her Master’s at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. A recipient of distinguished alumni awards from both UC Santa Barbara and the Fletcher School, she is a Regent Emerita of the University of California. She resides in Alexandria, VA.
Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety II most recently served as the appointed Representative of the United States of America to the African Union and Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN Economic Commission for Africa on September 3, 2013. Prior to this appointment, Ambassador Brigety served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs from November 14, 2011 until September 3, 2013 with responsibility for Southern African and Regional Security Affairs.
From December 2009 to November 2011, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. In this capacity, he supervised U.S. refugee programs in Africa, managed U.S. humanitarian diplomacy with major international partners, and oversaw the development of international migration policy.
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Ambassador Brigety previously served as Director of the Sustainable Security Program at the Center for American Progress from January 2008 to November 2009 and as a Special Assistant in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development from January 2007 to January 2008. From November 2008 to January 2009, he also served as a senior advisor for Development and Security to the U.S. Central Command Assessment Team in Washington and in Doha, Qatar.
Prior to his work in the policy arena, Ambassador Brigety served as an assistant professor of government and politics at George Mason University and at the School of International Service at American University between August 2003 and April 2009. In addition, Ambassador Brigety was a researcher with the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW) from August 2001- May 2003, where he conducted research missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Before joining HRW, Ambassador Brigety was an active duty U.S. naval officer and held several staff positions in the Pentagon and in fleet support units.
Ambassador Brigety is a 1995 distinguished midshipman graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he earned a B.S. in political science (with merit), served as the Brigade Commander, and received the Thomas G. Pownall Scholarship. He also holds an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Cambridge, England. Ambassador Brigety is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a recipient of the Council’s International Affairs Fellowship.
Ambassador Deborah A. McCarthy is an international security strategist with over 30 years of experience in Europe, the Western Hemisphere and the U.S. She is currently a consultant with the Transnational Strategy Group in Washington D.C. Just prior, she was the Executive Director of the Diversity and Leadership Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She moderates the American Academy of Diplomacy podcast series “The General and the Ambassador” (https://www.generalambassadorpodcast.org).
Before joining the private sector, Ms. McCarthy was a member of the U.S. Foreign Service. From 2013 to 2016, she was the U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania. Previously, she was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs. Ms. McCarthy also served as Deputy Ambassador 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 joint Masters in Economics and Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She is active on social media on U.S. foreign policy (Twitter: @Amb_DMcCarthy) and is an experienced public speaker. 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 also serves on the Advisory Board of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and on the Policy Council of the Una Chapman Cox Foundation.
Ronald E. Neumann
President, American Academy of Diplomacy
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 is the author of a memoir, Three Embassies, Four Wars: a personal memoir (2017) and The Other War: Winning and Losing in Afghanistan (Potomac Press, 2009), a book on his time in Afghanistan. He has returned to Afghanistan repeatedly and is the author of a number of monographs, articles, and editorials. His writings have focused most heavily on Afghanistan, stabilization, and Bahrain. At the Academy 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. Ambassador Neumann 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.
Ambassador Neumann speaks some Arabic and Dari as well as French. He received State Department Superior Honor Awards in 1993 and 1990. He was an Army infantry officer in Viet Nam and holds a Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal and Combat Infantry Badge. In Baghdad, he was awarded the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. He earned a B.A. in history and an M.A. in political science from the University of California at Riverside and is a graduate of the National War College. He is married to the former M. Elaine Grimm. They have two children.