Ambassadors Panel at George Washington University

In coordination with George Washington University’s Alexander Hamilton Society, the Academy organized a co-sponsored an Ambassador panel event that featured Shaun Donnelly, Chas Freeman and Jenonne Walker, moderated by Ronald Neumann. More than 40 students and community members attended the event, and the Alexander Hamilton Society student leadership expressed an interested in co-hosting future events with the Academy. One of our spring semester interns (2019), Sarah Moon, showed an exceptional initiative by connecting the Academy with GWU’s Alexander Hamilton Society in order to establish this panel.

Shaun Donnelly

Shaun Donnelly is Vice-President for Investment, Financial Services, and Banking in the Washington office of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB.) USCIB is a leading voice for U.S. business to the U.S. Government and represents U.S. business at the OECD, the UN system, and the International Chamber of Commerce.

Shaun Donnelly retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2008 after a 36-year career concentrating on international economics, trade and development. He served as U.S Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, as Deputy Ambassador in Tunisia and Mali, in three separate Deputy Assistant Secretary positions (totaling eight years) in the State Department’s Economic and Business Bureau, and as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative in charge of Europe and the Middle East.

After retiring from the U.S. Government and before joining USCIB, Ambassador Donnelly worked as Senior Director for International Business Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers and as Vice President for the Middle East at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, two leading business organizations.

Ambassador Donnelly is board member of the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) and of ASTM International, a leading international standards developer. He is a board member and the membership committee chair of the American Academy of Diplomacy. He is also a member of the Ambassadors Advisory Board of the Executive Council on Diplomacy.

Ambassador Donnelly earned a BA degree in economics from Lawrence University and an MA degree, also in economics, from Northwestern University. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia.


Chas W. Freeman, Jr. 

Ambassador Charles “Chas” W. Freeman, Jr. is a retired career Foreign Service officer and former Assistant Secretary of Defense and is one of the nation’s leading authorities on U.S.-China relations as well as developments in the Middle East, by virtue of his many years of in-depth experience as a practitioner in the U.S. government and considerable intellectual and analytical contributions.

In 1995, Ambassador Freeman ended a distinguished and remarkably varied career in the United States Foreign Service, which included extensive dealings with China and East Asia. He was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972. In the early 1980s, he served as the Director of Chinese Affairs at the State Department (1979-1981) and thereafter as as Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires in the American embassies at both Beijing (1981-1984) and Bangkok (1984-1986).

Ambassador Freeman was also Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs from 1993-94, earning the highest public service awards of the Department of Defense for his roles in designing a NATO-centered post-Cold War European security system and in reestablishing defense and military relations with China. He served as U. S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during the historic U.S. mediation of Namibian independence from South Africa and Cuban troop withdrawal from Angola. In addition to his Middle Eastern, African, East Asian and European diplomatic experience, he served in India.

He is the author of numerous articles and commentaries on developments regarding China, East Asia, and the Middle East, as well as two books, The Diplomat’s Dictionary(Revised Edition) and Arts of Power.

A well-known polygot, Ambassador Freeman has acquired formal ratings in Chinese, French and Spanish and a working knowledge of Portuguese and Italian. He speaks some Thai and Arabic as well. His formal educational awards includes a certificate in Latin American studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, certificates in both the national and Taiwan dialects of Chinese from the former Foreign Service Institute field school in Taiwan, a BA from Yale University and a JD from the Harvard Law School.

He currently serves as Co-Chair of the United States-China Policy Council, President of the Middle East Policy Council, Chairman of Projects International, Inc., Vice Chair of the Atlantic Council of the United States. He is a member of the boards of the Institute for Defense Analyses, the regional security centers of the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Washington World Affairs Council.


Jenonne Walker

Jenonne Walker was the United States Ambassador to the Czech Republic 1995-1998. Immediately prior to that, she was Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton and Senior Director for Europe, the President’s key advisor on U.S. relations with Europe, on the National Security Council Staff. After retiring from government she spent two years as Vice President for Europe of the World Monuments Fund, identifying historically and culturally important sites in need of conservation and forging partnerships for their restoration with European governments, foundations, and corporations.

Earlier in her government career, Amb. Walker worked as an analyst of West European affairs at the Central Intelligence Agency, was a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State, served as Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Sweden, was Director of the Office of European and United Nations Arms Control at the Department of State, and was Chair of various inter-agency committees shaping U.S. policy on arms control negotiations. For her work on arms control she received from President Ronald Reagan the Distinguished Civil Service Award.

During a period out of government, she was a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and subsequently a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars where she wrote extensively on U.S.-European relations and international security issues. She received a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to research the role of European and trans-Atlantic organizations in easing ethnic and other tensions within states.

Her publications include Security and Arms Control in Post-Confrontation Europe (Oxford University Press); chapters in edited books on ethnic conflict, the political and economic transitions in central and eastern Europe, U.S. efforts to influence the European Union’s Maastricht negotiations, and political motives in arms control negotiations; and articles on U.S.-European relations, the mediation of ethnic tensions, and arms control issues in Foreign Policy, the Harvard International Review, Current History, and Survival.

Amb. Walker received a B.A. in Letters and an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Oklahoma and did further graduate study in contemporary literature and philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of London.

She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the boards of directors of The German Marshall Fund of the U.S., the Project on Ethnic Relations, Friends of Czech Greenways, The American Friends of the Czech Republic, and the Washington Concert Opera (as well as being the immediate past-President).



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.