2013: Diplomacy and Transitioning Governments



Diplomacy and Transitioning Governments: Critical Lessons

A Discussion of American Diplomacy at the Robert H. Smith Center at Montalto

Saturday, October 26, 2013



American Academy of Diplomacy

Washington, D.C.

Robert H. Smith International Center

For Jefferson Studies at Monticello

Charlottesville, Virginia


The American Academy of Diplomacy

The American Academy of DiplomacyThe American Academy of Diplomacy was founded in 1983 by Ambassadors Ellsworth Bunker, U. Alexis Johnson, and John J. McCloy to explore ways in which persons who had served in positions of major responsibility could cooperate to promote the highest standards in the practice of American diplomacy.  Today, the Academy is dedicated to strengthening the resources and tools America brings to managing its diplomatic challenges, and accomplishes this through targeted outreach programs, distinguished awards, scholarships, writing competitions, and robust, practical, research-based publications. Through these activities, the Academy promotes an understanding of the importance of diplomacy to serving our nation and enhancing America’s standing in the world.



The Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello


From its beginning in 1994, the dual purpose of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies has been research and education – to foster Jefferson scholarship and to disseminate its findings.  The activities of the Center are diverse and multidisciplinary.  It is a residential site for individual Jefferson scholars and teachers, as well as a venue for lectures, seminars, and conferences.  The Center seeks a central role in the ongoing study of Thomas Jefferson internationally by supporting a wide range of inquiry; by building a network of scholars, teachers, and resources; by helping to define new areas of investigation; and by promoting the application of new technologies to Jefferson scholarship.  An Advisory Board of acclaimed scholars and statesmen helps guide the Center’s activities.


Diplomacy & Transitioning Governments: Critical Lessons



Massive transitions have been and are challenging the forms of government in the Arab world, toppling regimes in Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, and Egypt. Protest movements and insurgencies in Latin America and South Asia contribute to the need for the United States to be prepared to confront regime change and manage the pursuit of our interests in turbulent times.  Yet transition is not new.  The past has lessons of successes, failures and limitations that remain relevant for policy formulation and the conduct of American diplomacy.

This conference, co-hosted by the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, is intended to define the roles and requirements of American diplomats in times of foreign political transition.




Diplomacy and Transitioning Governments: Critical Lessons

A Discussion of American Diplomacy

October 26, 2013


8:30 a.m.              Registration at Monticello prior to bus boarding for Montalto


8:45 a.m.              Coffee at Repose House, Montalto


9:30 a.m.              Welcome and Introductions

Leslie Greene Bowman, President, Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann (ret.), President, American Academy of Diplomacy

Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies

9:45 a.m.              Ambassador Ronald Neumann will reflect on themes that have emerged from recent historical experiences of transition which include:

The essentiality of diplomatic responses to crises before military ones;  The confusion that sees diplomacy limited to public statements and aid levels vs. the more complex reality; Why influencing transitions are difficult, with limited room for diplomatic maneuver but why influence may be critical at moments of crisis; The challenges of modern communication.

10:15 a.m.            Q & A

10:30 a.m.            Coffee Break

10:45 a.m.            A panel of experts will look at how three historical cases of transition exemplify these points:


Latin America: Colombia’s transition to a modern, stable democracy from weak, ineffective governments dealing simultaneously with guerrilla and narco-insurgencies with a focus on supportive, integrated diplomatic initiatives.  Ambassador Thomas McNamara

The Soviet Union: With particular reference to the moments when US diplomacy was critical vs. the periods when it could do little to affect events, contacts with broader society, and the relationship of field to Washington.

Ambassador Jack Matlock

Egypt: The country’s ongoing transition will exemplify the difficulty in balancing U. S. advocacy for a truly democratic follow-on regime, against the demands of realpolitik U.S. national interest goals in the country, such as retention of strategic military facilities and adequate internal regime stability to minimize the influence of anti-American, terrorist elements in the post-transition society.

Ambassador Margaret Scobey


12:15 p.m.            Break for Lunch


1:15 p.m.              Keynote Address: A Foreign Perspective on Managing Diplomacy during Times of Transition.

The Rt. Hon. Lord Ashdown


1:45 p.m.              Q & A


2:15 p.m.              Closing Remarks.

Ambassador Ronald Neumann and Andrew O’Shaughnessy


2:30 p.m.              Conference adjourns



View all videos of panel discussion:
video 1: introduction and welcome,
video 2: Ronald Neumann
video 3: Thomas McNamara: case of Colombia
video 4: Jack Matlock: case of the Soviet Union
video 5: Margaret Scobey: case of Egypt



 The Rt. Hon. Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon GCMG, KBE, PC

Paddy Ashdown was born in New Delhi in 1941 and his family returned to Britain when he was four years old. Between 1959 and 1972, he served as a Royal Marines Officer and saw active service as a Commando Officer in Borneo and the Persian Gulf. After Special Forces Training in England in 1965, he commanded a Special Boat Section in the Far East.  He went to Hong Kong in 1967 to undertake a full-time course in Chinese, returning to England in 1970. He was then given command of a Commando Company in Belfast.

In 1972, Paddy left the Royal Marines and joined the Foreign Office.  He was posted to the British Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, where he was responsible for Britain’s relations with a number of UN organizations and took part in the negotiation of several international treaties and agreements.

After leaving the Foreign Office, Paddy worked in local industry in the Yeovil area in southwest England between 1976 and 1981. In 1981, Paddy went to work as a Youth Worker with the Dorset County Council Youth Service, where he was responsible for initiatives to help the young unemployed.

Paddy stood as the Liberal Parliamentary candidate for the Yeovil constituency in 1979. He was elected Leader of the Liberal Democrats in 1988 and was appointed as a Privy Councilor in 1989.  In the 1997 general election, he further increased his majority in his Yeovil constituency.  Paddy stood down as the leader of the Liberal Democrats in 1999 and retired from the Commons in 2001.  He was made a Knight of the British Empire (KBE) in 2000 and a peer in 2001.  Lord Ashdown was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG) in the 2006 New Year’s Honours List for his work in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Paddy was one of the leading advocates for decisive action by the international community.  He argued strongly that this would help bring the conflict to an early close and was in the interest of all the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whatever their ethnic background.  He visited the country many times during the conflict, and subsequently served as the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Union Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina from May 2002 until January 2006.  He is acknowledged as one of the foremost experts on the Balkans region in Europe.


Leslie Greene Bowman

Leslie Greene Bowman is President of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc., which owns and operates Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.  Prior to coming to Monticello, she served nine years as executive director of Winterthur, the nation’s greatest museum of American decorative arts.  She spent the first half of her career as a curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she rose to become head curator of decorative arts as well as assistant director of exhibition programs. While in Los Angeles, she also enjoyed academic appointments with both USC and UCLA, where she taught American decorative arts history.  She is the author of American Arts & Crafts: Virtue in Design, and co-author of American Rococo, 1750-1775:  Elegance in Ornament, each amplifying scholarship on important eras in American art history.  Leslie has served at the highest levels of the museum field, both as an accreditation commissioner for the American Association of Museums and a board member of the Association of Art Museum Directors.  From 1993-2010, she served by Presidential appointment on the Committee for the Preservation of the White House.  She is currently a Trustee on the Board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann (ret.) 

Formerly a Deputy Assistant Secretary Ronald E. Neumann served three times as Ambassador; to Algeria, Bahrain and finally to the Islamic Republic of 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 principal interlocutor with the Multinational Command, where he was deeply involved in coordinating the political part of military action.

Prior to working in Iraq, he was Chief of Mission in Manama, Bahrain (2001-2004). Before that, Ambassador Neumann served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near East Affairs (1997-2000), where he directed the organization of the first separately-funded NEA democracy programs and also was responsible for the bureau’s work in developing the North African Economic Initiative for Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. Before that assignment, he was Ambassador to Algeria (1994 to 1997) and 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 The

 Other War: Winning and Losing in Afghanistan(Potomac Press, 2009), a book on his time in Afghanistan.  He is the author of a number of monographs and articles.  At the Academy he has focused particularly on efforts to expand State and USAID personnel to enable these institutions to carry out their responsibilities.

Ambassador Neumann speaks some Arabic and Dari as well as French. He received State Department Senior Foreign Service pay awards in 2004, 2003, and 1999 as well as individual Superior Honor Awards in 1993 and 1990. He served as 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. He is married to the former M. Elaine Grimm. They have two children.


Andrew O’Shaughnessy

Andrew O’Shaughnessy is the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and Professor of History at the University of Virginia.  He is a dual citizen of Britain and the United States. After completing his undergraduate and doctoral degrees in British Imperial History at Oxford University, he taught at Eton College before becoming a visiting professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and a professor of American history at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh where he was chair of the History department between 1998 and 2003.

Professor O’Shaughnessy is the author of An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000) and The Men Who Lost America. British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013). He has lectured widely to both scholarly and general audiences including the American Philosophical Society, the Oxford Discovery Programme on board the Queen Mary II and the University of Virginia Continuing Education Program at Colonial Williamsburg. He is an editor of the Jeffersonian American Series of the University of Virginia Press and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


Ambassador Thomas E. McNamara

From March 2006 until July 2009 Ambassador McNamara served as the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment, a position established by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.  He reported to the President and to the Director of National Intelligence and was responsible for implementing basic post-9/11 reforms in the management of information throughout the federal government and with state, local, private sector, and foreign governments.

After leaving government in the late 1990s, he returned after 9/11 at the request of the Secretary of State to be his Senior Advisor on terrorism and homeland security.  His career has included service as Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador to Colombia, Special Assistant to the President, Ambassador at Large for Counter Terrorism, Special Negotiator for Panama, and other senior positions.  From 1998 to 2001 Ambassador McNamara was President and CEO of the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas in New York.  He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University.

Ambassador McNamara has wide diplomatic experience in political-military affairs, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, Latin American, Middle Eastern, African, European, and Russian affairs.  His overseas postings included Colombia, Russia, Congo, and France.  His presentations and writings on security issues are extensive.  Most recently he authored a chapter on Libyan-American relations in a book, Uniting Against Terror, published by the MIT Press.

He is the third recipient of the National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal, and his other awards include the State Department’s Distinguished Service Medal, and La Gran Cruz de Boyaca – Colombia’s highest civilian honor.


Ambassador Jack F. Matlock, Jr.

Ambassador Jack Matlock, a retired diplomat, has held academic posts since 1991: Sol Linowitz Professor of International Relations, Hamilton College, 2006; visiting professor and lecturer in public and international affairs at Princeton University, 2001-2004; George F. Kennan Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, 1996 – 2001; Senior Research Fellow and then Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor in the Practice of International Diplomacy at Columbia University, 1991 to 1996. During his 35 years in the American Foreign Service (1956-1991) he served as Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for European and Soviet Affairs on the National Security Council Staff from 1983 until 1986, and Ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1981 to 1983.

Before his appointment to Moscow as Ambassador, Mr. Matlock served three tours at the American Embassy in the Soviet Union, as Vice Consul and Third Secretary (1961-63), Minister Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission (1974-1978), and Chargé d’Affaires ad interim in 1981. His other Foreign Service assignments were in Vienna, Munich, Accra, Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, in addition to tours in Washington as Director of Soviet Affairs in the State Department (1971-74) and as Deputy Director of the Foreign Service Institute (1979-80). Before entering the Foreign Service Ambassador Matlock was Instructor in Russian Language and Literature at Dartmouth College (1953-56). During the 1978-79 academic year he was Visiting Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University.

Ambassador Matlock is the author of Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended (Random House, 2004, paperback edition 2005); Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador’s Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union (Random House, 1995); and a handbook to the thirteen-volume Russian edition of Stalin’s Collected Works (Washington, D.C. 1955, 2nd edition, New York, 1971).

Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, on October 1, 1929, Ambassador Matlock was educated at Duke University (AB,summa cum laude, 1950) and at Columbia University (MA and Certificate of the Russian Institute, 1952). He has been awarded honorary doctorates by four institutions. In addition to the books noted, he is the author of numerous articles on foreign policy, international relations, and Russian literature and history. He and his wife, the former Rebecca Burrum, divide their time between Booneville, Tennessee, and Princeton, New Jersey. They have five children and three grandchildren.



Ambassador Margaret Scobey

Ambassador Margaret Scobey a native of Memphis, Tennessee, served as Deputy Commandant, International Affairs Advisor, Industrial College of the Armed Forces from July 2011 to July 2012. Previously, she served as U.S. Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt from April 2008 until July 2011.

Ambassador Scobey was confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to Syria in December 2003 and was recalled for consultations in February 2005 following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. In addition to her service in Syria, Ambassador Scobey served as Political Counselor in Baghdad, 2006-2007 and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from September 2001 through November 2003. She has also served as Director of Arabian Peninsula Affairs in the Department of State, Deputy Chief of Mission in Sanaa, Yemen, as well as earlier assignments in Jerusalem, Kuwait, Pakistan, and Peru.

In the Department, Ambassador Scobey has been staff assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Near East and South Asian Affairs, watch officer in the Operations Center, political-military officer in the Office of Israel and Arab-Israeli Affairs, and deputy director of the Secretariat Staff.

Ambassador Scobey graduated with a degree in History from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she also received her Master’s degree. She pursued doctoral studies in History at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.