Savannah Council on World Affairs Lecture Series

Staff Report

Tuesday, November 28th, 2023

The Savannah Council on World Affairs is pleased to offer its next program on Thursday, December 7, at 7:30pm (Social Time begins at 7:00pm) at Skidaway Community Church.

Ambassador (ret.) Ronald Neumann, President of the American Academy of Diplomacy, formerly a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and Ambassador to Algeria, Bahrain, and Afghanistan will present:

"America's Diplomacy Falls Behind: How to Fix it"

The organization of American diplomacy is falling behind the requirements of a successful 21st century diplomacy.  U.S. diplomats lack proper professional training and education; a need the U.S. military has recognized and acted on for our armed forces for more than half a century.  The requirements of diplomacy in a world confronting transnational challenges from climate change to cyber threats to multinational criminal organizations continue to grow, but our training has not kept pace.  Further, the State Department lacks the capacity to surge personnel to meet the needs of pandemic evacuations of American citizens or to properly support military engagements.  Ambassador Neumann, the former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Bahrain and Albania, and the current President of the American Academy of Diplomacy will present realistic ideas with realistic costs to fix these problems and discuss why they are essential.  Please come learn about these practical and important recommendations from one of our country’s most experienced diplomats.

Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann is currently President of the American Academy of Diplomacy.  He was formerly a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and served three times as Ambassador; to Algeria (1994-1997), Bahrain (2001-2004) 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, Mr. Neumann was Ambassador to 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).  

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.  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 is on the board of the Middle East Policy Council and the Advisory Council of the World Affairs Councils of America. 

Ambassador Neumann 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.  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.