Savannah Council on World Affairs Meeting on December 7th

Staff Report

Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

Date: 7:30 p.m., Dec. 7, 2023. Social, networking time begins at 7 p.m.

Location: Liston Hall, Skidaway Community Church, 50 Diamond Causeway, Savannah

Open to the public. Admission is $10 for non-members. Students admitted without charge. Annual memberships available. More information at

Speaker: Ambassador (ret.) Ronald Nuemann, the former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Bahrain and Albania, and the current president of the American Academy of Diplomacy

Program Topic: “Diplomacy Falls Behind: How to Fix it”

Program Abstract: The organization of American diplomacy is falling behind the requirements of a successful 21st century diplomacy. US diplomats lack proper professional training and education; a need the US 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. The ambassador will present realistic ideas with realistic costs to fix these problems and discuss why they are essential. He will bring practical and important recommendations as one of our country’s most experienced diplomats.

Speaker Bio: Retired Ambassador Ronald Neumann is a former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Bahrain and Albania, and the current president of the American Academy of Diplomacy. His 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.

He 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 Department and USAID budgets and staffing and upgrade professional formation to enable these institutions to carry out their responsibilities. The ambassador serves 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 also serves 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. In 2018, he received the American Foreign Service Association’s award for Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s 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.

Sponsors: Critz Auto Group, Reach the World, Daily Chatter.

Contact: Becky Cheatham at 912-657-4409