2022 – The Global Implications of the War in Ukraine

On October 13, 2022, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and the American Academy of Diplomacy will co-host a discussion panel to enhance public understanding of critical foreign policy areas. This in-person panel focuses on the global implications of the war in Ukraine, featuring panelists Ambassador Susan Elliott, Ambassador Robert Cekuta, Ambassador Richard Boucher, and moderator Ambassador Ronald Neumann.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Susan Elliott

Susan M. Elliott, Ambassador (ret.) is an accomplished diplomat with an earned doctorate from Indiana University. During her 27-year diplomatic career, Ambassador Elliott held a variety of leadership positions at the U.S. Department of State. She became President and CEO of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy in August 2018.

 

From 2015 to 2017, Ambassador Elliott served as the Civilian Deputy and Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commander of the United States European Command. Ambassador Elliott was the U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan from 2012 to 2015. Prior to her Ambassadorial appointment, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

Ambassador Elliott served on the faculties of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia before joining the U.S. Department of State in March 1990. During her Foreign Service career, Ambassador Elliott worked in a variety of overseas and Washington-based assignments. Her previous overseas assignments include Minister Counselor for Political Affairs in Moscow, Russia; Principal Officer in Belfast, Northern Ireland; Deputy Economic Counselor and Visa Section Chief in Athens, Greece. Other overseas assignments include Moscow, Russia and Lima, Peru.

Ambassador Elliott worked on the staff of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a Deputy Executive Secretary and Director of the Executive Secretariat Staff. Earlier in her career she reported on conflicts in the countries of the former Soviet Union when she worked in the Office of the Coordinator for Regional Conflicts in the New Independent States.

 

Robert Cekuta

Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan (2015 – 2018), Bob Cekuta has long and extensive experience as a top level U.S. diplomat. Deeply engaged in advancing high-profile international energy projects, trade policy initiatives and agreements, commercial sales, and other complex international security matters, Amb. Cekuta’s positions in the State Department included Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources as well as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy, Sanctions, and Commodities.

His overseas postings included the U.S. Embassies in Berlin and Tokyo where he oversaw the full range of economic, commercial, nonproliferation, and scientific relations. In addition, Bob was Deputy Chief of Mission in Albania and held positions in Vienna, Baghdad, Kabul, Johannesburg, and Sana’a, Yemen. He established the Economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy Office in the State Department’s Bureau for Economic and Business Affairs, and served on the boards of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the International Energy Agency (IEA), where he also chaired the IEA Board’s Standing Group on Long-term Cooperation charged with anticipating global energy developments.

During his career with the State Department Ambassador Cekuta received nine Senior Foreign Service Performance Awards, four Superior Honor Awards, five Meritorious Honor Awards, and the Career Achievement Award. He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and the National War College.

 

Richard Boucher

Richard Boucher is a senior US diplomat turned teacher. Over a thirty-two year career, he achieved the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service as Career Ambassador.

Richard’s career began in China at the start of economic reform and included numerous China assignments; in his later career, he became the longest serving Spokesman in the history of the State Department, serving six Secretaries of State. From 2006 to 2009, he formulated U.S. policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as India and the broader region. Richard also served as U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus (1993-1996), U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong (1996-1999), and led U.S. efforts for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation from 1999-2000.

After retiring from the Foreign Service, Richard served for four years as Deputy Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, working on economic reform with developing countries.  In later years, Richard has taught diplomacy and foreign policy to Brown University graduate and undergraduate students as a Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and courses at University of Michigan’s Ford School and George Mason University.

Richard taught English as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal from 1973-1975. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and did graduate work in economics at George Washington University.  He is married to Carolyn Brehm a business executive and has two children and one wonderful grandson.

 

Ronald 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.