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Diplomatic Advisory Board,
U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

The Diplomatic Advisory Board for the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission provides expert advice to the Commission to enhance outreach as the Commission brings together new sponsors and partners for commemorative activities. The Board Members provide counsel, strategy and contacts in the countries where they served. The Board Members serve without pay.

 The Board Members

Governor James Blanchard

James Blanchard 200James Blanchard served as governor of the State of Michigan, ambassador to Canada and a member of the United States Congress. Currently, he is Chair Emeritus, Government Affairs for the global law firm of DLA Piper and vice chairman of the National Archives Foundation in Washington, DC.

James Blanchard joined the DLA Piper Law Firm in Washington, D.C. upon the conclusion of his duties as United States ambassador to Canada in April 1996. In recognition of his outstanding performance as ambassador, Secretary of State Warren Christopher presented Governor Blanchard with the Foreign Affairs Award for Public Service in a ceremony at the Department of State, making him one of only a handful of ambassadors to receive this prestigious award.

Governor Blanchard currently serves as co-chair of the Ambassadors Circle for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) , a non- profit, non- partisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government. Most recently, Mr Blanchard also served as Chairman of the Meridian International Center, a leading public diplomacy center in Washington, DC.

Ambassador Jeffrey L. Bleich

Jeffrey Bleich 200Jeffrey L. Bleich is a litigation partner based in the San Francisco office of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP. He returned to the partnership in December 2013 following four years of service as U.S. Ambassador to Australia and as Special Counsel to President Obama in the White House during the first year of the Administration.

As the 24th United States Ambassador to Australia, Mr. Bleich’s term was marked by the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, with Australia being the focal point for that shift. His efforts included overseeing record growth in trade and investment between the U.S. and Australia, bringing the Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty into force, establishing new alliance agreements for satellites and cyber security, executing a new space cooperation agreement that supported the Mars Curiosity rover landing, leading joint U.S.-Australia efforts in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province, and promoting regional human rights efforts.

Mr. Bleich holds a B.A. magna cum laude from Amherst College, an M.P.P from Harvard University with highest honors, a J.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Law with highest honors, and an honorary Doctor of Laws from S.F. State University. He has been elected as a life member to both the American Law Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations. He also serves on the board of Pratt Industries as well as Willie Mays' Say Hey Foundation.

Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun

braun carol 200Ambassador Braun was elected to serve as the only black member of the United States Senate in 1992, and the first and only woman to be elected to the Senate from Illinois. She was also the first black Democrat to be elected from any state to the Senate. She served as Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa,and  is the first and only United States Ambassador to be made a member of the Te Atiawa Maori tribe.

Carol Moseley Braun was one of the first black women to graduate from the law school at the University of Chicago. Previously, as an assistant United States Attorney, she was the first black woman to win the Attorney General’s Special Achievement award. As an Illinois state legislator, she was the first black woman to become an assistant majority leader and spokesperson for the Mayor of Chicago. (The late Harold Washington) Earlier on in her career, Carol Moseley Braun was elected to executive office in Cook County, the first woman to do so.

Her fourth career is as an entrepreneur, and she is currently the founder and President of a biodynamic organic food company, Good Food Organics®/Ambassador Organics™.

Ambassador James P. Cain

James P Cain 200Ambassador Jim Cain’s career has spanned the fields of law, business, sports, and international diplomacy. From July of 2005 until January 2009, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark. Prior to his diplomatic service, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League, as a partner in the international law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton (formerly Kilpatrick Stockton), and as founder and Chairman of numerous civic and business enterprises. Upon leaving the official diplomatic world, Ambassador Cain began working with North American and European Consumer Brand companies to expand their operations into the surging markets of Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Ambassador Cain was nominated by President Bush as U.S. Ambassador to Denmark on June 30, 2005. As Ambassador, Cain oversaw the 13 agencies of the American government that comprised the US Embassy in Copenhagen, focusing his energies on areas of national security, counter-terrorism, energy security, commerce and investment, and promotion of shared values. However, his passion was public diplomacy — showcasing the power of sports to bridge cultural differences and resolve conflict. Drawing on his sports background and connections with America’s major professional sports leagues, Ambassador Cain launched an initiative designed to re-invigorate America’s use of sports as a diplomatic tool. Showcased by the State Department and adopted by numerous America Embassies, Ambassador Cain’s “American Spirit” initiative included partnerships with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, WTA, USGA, MLS and other major American sports leagues. On January 16, 2009, for his contributions to American and Danish relations, Ambassador Cain was awarded the Knighthood of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II, the highest Honor awarded a foreigner.

Ambassador Cain did his undergraduate work and earned a law degree from Wake Forest University. Before leaving North Carolina for his diplomatic post in 2005, Ambassador Cain served in leadership positions for numerous civic and non-profit institutions including the Chamber of Commerce, Character Education Foundation, American Red Cross, American Diabetes Association, and Boy Scouts of America. Ambassador Cain has long been active in politics, starting in the late 1970’s when he began working for Ronald Reagan. Ambassador Cain served as Republican National Committeeman for North Carolina from 2003 to 2005 and served as Regional Chairman for the Bush-Cheney 2004 Campaign. He served as President Bush’s Emissary to the Philippines in 2004.


Ambassador Timothy A. Chorba

Timothy A. ChorbaTimothy A. Chorba was elected President of the Council of American Ambassadors in May 2012. He served as Ambassador to Singapore from 1994 to 1998.

Prior to his appointment Ambassador Chorba was a partner in the Patton Boggs law firm in Washington, DC, which he joined in 1977 and rejoined upon his return to the United States. He retired from the firm in February, 2015. Ambassador Chorba engaged in international corporate legal practice, including government relations, public policy issues, commercial transactions, trade issues, anti-counterfeiting, regulatory matters, litigation and financing, serving American and European multinational enterprises doing business in North America, Western Europe, South America and Asia.\Ambassador Chorba graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1968 from Georgetown University with a B.A. degree in Government. In 1968-1969, he was a Fulbright Scholar in International Law and International Relations at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. He obtained his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1972 and was admitted to the bar in 1973. He served as an Armor officer and Judge Advocate General officer in the US Army Reserve from 1968 to 1986, attaining the rank of Major.

He was Legislative Counsel to Congressman Jonathan Bingham of New York from 1972 to 1973. In 1973, he participated in a Congressional Staff exchange program with the German Bundestag in Bonn, sponsored by the Conference group on German Politics. From 1974 to 1977, he was a corporate attorney with Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett in New York.

He was born September 23, 1946, in Yonkers, New York and raised in New York City. Ambassador Chorba is married to Ruth Wimer, a partner with the McDermott, Will and Emery law firm. They have three sons: Timothy, Jr. (29) a graduate of Georgetown University's College of Arts and Sciences, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco and is in the final year of Georgetown University's joint J.D./MBA program; Christian (28), a graduate of Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, graduated Boston College Law School in May, 2015 and is clerking for Chief Justice Paul Reiber of the Supreme Court of Vermont; and William (24), a 2014 graduate of Georgetown's College of Arts and Sciences, served with AmeriCorps in Denver, and is in his first year at Michigan Law School.

Ambassador Chorba is a member of the Board of Governors of the Army and Navy Club on Farragut Square. He is fluent in German and conversant in French.


Ambassador Laurie S. Fulton

Laurie S. FultonLaurie S. Fulton served as U.S. Ambassador to Denmark from July 2009 to February 2013. She recently retired as a partner in the law firm Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, D.C., where she practiced law for more than two decades and was recognized as one of “Washington’s Top Lawyers” by Washingtonian Magazine in 2004.

As Ambassador, she managed U.S. relations with Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands in areas related to national security, counter-terrorism, arctic policy, piracy and international law enforcement, among others. She co-founded Green Partnerships for Growth, a bi-lateral, public-private initiative to develop U.S.–Danish business opportunities in green technology sectors. Ambassador Fulton organized and co-hosted the 2010 Conference on the Role of Women in Global Security for the U.S. and Nordic-Baltic countries, identifying best practices to assist women in becoming productive citizens in countries emerging from conflict, specifically Afghanistan, Liberia and Uganda. She was repeatedly recognized for leadership and advocacy for inclusion and tolerance. Ambassador Fulton was awarded the Grand Cross of the Danish Royal Order of Dannebrog by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II.

Ms. Fulton is Chair of the Honorary Advisory Board of the American-Danish Business Council. Ms. Fulton serves on the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Council, Board of Trustees of the Meridian International Center, and Board of Trustees of Youth for Understanding. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Council of American Ambassadors, and the American Society of International Law. She served on the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace from January 2004 to October 2008 and co-chaired the USIP International Advisory Council from 2008-2010.

Laurie Fulton earned a B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, which recently awarded her a Citation for Alumnus Achievement. Ms. Fulton earned a J.D. magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law School (GULC) and was awarded the Order of the Coif. She has been honored with an outstanding Alumnae Award from GULC and an honorary Doctorate in Public Service from South Dakota State University.


Ambassador Mark Gitenstein

Mark GitensteinMark Gitenstein is special counsel in the International Trade practice in Mayer Brown's Washington DC office. He was appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama to serve as the United States Ambassador to Romania, completing his term of service at the end of 2012. He currently serves on the board of directors of The Biden Foundation.

As US Ambassador to Romania, he worked to strengthen relations with Romania on a variety of issues. He actively promoted deeper development of Romania’s equity markets, as well as a fair and transparent business environment for all investors. He also encouraged greater private sector involvement in state owned enterprises (SOEs), including the introduction of a corporate governance code for SOEs. Notably, the US-Romanian Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement was negotiated and signed during his tenure. In 2012, Romanian President Traian Băsescu awarded Mark with the “Star of Romanian Grand Cross,” the country’s highest civil order.

Before undertaking his ambassadorial role, Mark spent two decades at Mayer Brown, focusing his practice primarily on issues of government relations. Additionally, he was a non-resident senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, where he specialized in issues related to national security and civil liberties.

Prior to joining Mayer Brown in 1989, Mark was the executive director of the Foundation for Change, Inc. and earlier held several senior-level government positions, including chief counsel to the US Senate’s Judiciary Committee, minority chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee and chief counsel for the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Criminal Justice. He also served as counsel to the US Senate Intelligence Committee and counsel to the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights.

Mark is the author of Matters of Principle, an award winning book on his experience managing the Judiciary Committee staff during the confirmation battle over the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court.


Ambassador James Goodby

james goodby 200During a distinguished career in the Foreign Service, achieving the rank of Career Minister, James Goodby was appointed to five ambassadorial-rank positions by Presidents Carter, Reagan, and Clinton, including ambassador to Finland, and held a variety of other diplomatic and policy positions too numerous to mention. In 1995-96, while on leave from Carnegie Mellon University (where he taught from 1989-99), he was Principal Negotiator and Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Security and Dismantlement, and, in 2000-2001, deputy to General John Shalikashvili, the Special Advisor to the President and the Secretary of State for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

He taught at Georgetown, Syracuse, and Carnegie Mellon Universities and is Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at Carnegie Mellon. Ambassador Goodby has worked with former Secretary of State George Shultz at Hoover since 2007. He is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a senior fellow with the Center for Northeast Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution.

Goodby’s awards include the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the State Department’s Superior and Distinguished Honor Awards, and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Germany. He was named a Distinguished Fellow of the US Institute of Peace in 1992. He was the recipient of the inaugural Heinz Award in Public Policy in 1995. In 1996, he was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by the Stetson University College of Law. He is the author of several books.

Ambassador Howard W. Gutman

Howard Gutman Howard Gutman was nominated by President Barack Obama to be U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 24, 2009. He was sworn in on August 14, 2009. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium until July 23, 2013, becoming the third longest serving U.S. ambassador to Belgium in over 100 years. Ambassador Gutman has been called “the most popular ambassador ever” by one Belgian newspaper and “The Ambassador Who Made Us Love America Again” by a leading Belgian magazine. During Ambassador Gutman’s tenure, the favorability rating for U.S. leadership in Belgium increased 600% and in 2012, Belgium finished first in the world with the highest increase in favorability towards U.S. leadership.

Gutman is the Managing Director of The Gutman Group, an international consulting and advisory practice focusing on energy, finance, trade, infrastructure, real estate, market access, and related strategic foreign policy issues. He also serves as a Member of the Board of Directors of Exmar, a leading independent LNG and LPG Carrier Owner and Operator, with offices in Europe and America.

Gutman is a Member of the Board of Managers of DTH (Downtown Holding) Partners LLC, a New York real estate development company, with a heavy participation by European parties. Howard Gutman has become the Chair of SR2, a sophisticated hardware and software platform for commercial drones. He is on the Board of Advisors of several start-up companies in the technology and finance space. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and meetings, focusing among other topics on European-U.S. relationship, energy, trade and the changing patterns in the world. He recently joined the Board of Advisors of Infralinx Capital.

Before being named Ambassador, Gutman was a partner with the Washington D.C. law firm of Williams & Connolly LLP.  Earlier in his career, he served as a Special Assistant to F.B.I Director William H. Webster, focusing on counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence; as a law clerk to Justice Potter Stewart (Retd.) on the United States Supreme Court; and as a law clerk to Judge Irving L. Goldberg on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He was also for many years a member of the Board of the Washington Hebrew Home in Rockville, Maryland.


Ambassador Stuart W. Holliday

Ambassador Stuart W Holliday

Ambassador Stuart Holliday is President and CEO of Meridian International Center, a leading non-partisan institution that seeks to advance global security and prosperity through effective leadership and diplomacy.

Ambassador Stuart Holliday served as United States Ambassador for Special Political Affairs at the United Nations (2003-2005), after his nomination by the President and confirmation by the Senate. Holliday’s primary duties involved representing the United States on issues in the U.N. Security Council. This included responsibility for U.S. policy on U.N. Peacekeeping, Sanctions, and Counterterrorism programs. Prior to serving at the United Nations, Holliday was Coordinator (Assistant Secretary) of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.

From 2000 to 2001, he was Special Assistant to the President and Associate Director of Presidential Personnel at the White House. At the White House, he advised the President on appointments to the State Department, the Defense Department, the Veterans Department, FEMA, NASA, OPIC, Peace Corps, USAID and Ambassadorships.

Following the attacks of September 11, Holliday was tasked by the President’s Chief of Staff to work with government agencies to staff the first Office of Homeland Security at the White House. From 1998 to 2000, he served as Assistant (deputy) Policy Director to then Governor of Texas. In this capacity he had specific responsibility for economic development, international trade, technology and military issues. He has also served as the Director of the International Practice at QGA, a leading public affairs firm, Executive Director of the Dallas Council on World Affairs and Regional Director for North Africa, the Middle East and Turkey at the International Republican Institute (IRI) where he worked on political reform and elections.

Holliday served on active and reserve duty as an Officer in the United States Navy (Intelligence) from 1988 until 1995 and was recalled to active duty for Operation Desert Storm. He is a recipient of the Joint Service Commendation Medal and other awards.

He obtained his B.S.F.S. (International Affairs) from Georgetown University and his M.A. (International Affairs) from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Holliday is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a co-founder of No Labels, promoting bipartisan solutions to American challenges, and is now serving on the No Labels Advisory Board. He also serves as a Trustee of the Center for the Study of Presidency and Congress, has served as a member and chapter chair of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), on the Boards of the Council of American Ambassadors, The International Foundation for Election Systems, and the private sector. Holliday is a frequent speaker on foreign affairs and international institutions. He serves as a regular co-host of No Labels Radio on Sirius XM Satellite Radio with Governor Jon Huntsman. He regularly appears on television programs such as MSNBC, Fox News and Fox Business, CNN, BBC, and Bloomberg News, as well as a variety of international media networks. He is a frequent speaker on national security, foreign policy, and presidential politics.


Ambassador Allan Katz

Allen KatzAmbassador Allan Katz was nominated by President Barack Obama to be Ambassador of the United States of America to the Portuguese Republic in November 2009. The nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2010. Ambassador Katz presented his credentials to the President of the Portuguese Republic, His Excellency Aníbal Cavaco Silva on April 28, 2010.

Ambassador Katz joined the Departments of Public Affairs and Political Science at the University of Missouri - Kansas City as a Distinguished Professor in August of 2012. Ambassador Katz teaches Political Science and Public Administration seminars and courses for both departments.

Ambassador Katz is a lawyer by profession who has been active in local and national government and politics for many years. Prior to entering private legal practice, Ambassador Katz was Assistant Insurance Commissioner and General Counsel for the State of Florida Insurance Department. In Washington, D.C., he served as General Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives Commission on Administrative Review; as Legislative Director for Congressman David Obey; and Legislative Assistant to Congressman Bill Gunter. Ambassador Katz was elected as Commissioner for the City of Tallahassee from 2003 to 2009, and he was also appointed by the State of Florida to serve on the Board of Directors for Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.

Ambassador Katz has been recognized for his work as a lawyer and a community leader. The Environmental Defense Fund and the Florida Wildlife Federation Fund honored him with the "Champion for Climate Change" award. He has been recognized as a leading lawyer by many organizations including "The Best Lawyers in America for Insurance Law".  He holds a B.A. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law in Washington D.C. He is married to Ms. Nancy Cohn, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Brazil, and they have two adult sons.


Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis

Koinalakis Eleni 200Eleni Kounalakis was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary in 2010, a position she held until 2013. After returning from her post in Hungary, she was appointed in 2014 by California Governor Jerry Brown to serve as the chair of the California Advisory Council for International Trade and Investment. Previously, Ambassador Kounalakis served as a member of the California State World Trade Commission, The California First Five Commission, the San Francisco War Memorial, and was the president of AKT Development Corporation.

As a long-time advocate for Hellenic values, democracy and global affairs, she established the Tsakopoulous Kounalakis lecture series at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She also chairs an endowment to study Athenian democracy at Georgetown University and Stanford University. An active advocate of interfaith cooperation, Kounalakis served for ten years as a Trustee of the World Council of Religions for Peace. Ms. Koulanakis is a member of the Global Advisory Council of the International Society for Stem Cell Research and a member of the Association of American Ambassadors.

Ms. Kounalakis received her MBA from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, where she now serves as a member of the board, and holds an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the American College of Greece.


Ambassador Howard Leach

Ambassador Leach 200Howard Leach sworn in as U.S. ambassador to France on July 16, 2001. He completed his service in France on April 15, 2005. He was also a member of the Board of Regents of the University of California from 1990 to 2001. He served as chairman of the Board of Regents from 1993 to 1995.

Mr. Leach is a business executive and private investor. He serves as president of Leach Capital, LLC as well as Foley Timber & Land Company. He is a graduate of Yale University and attended Stanford Graduate School of Business. He served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1953 through 1955.

Mr. Leach is active in civic activities and serves on the boards of the American Friends of Versailles, the American University of Paris, the French-American Foundation, the French Heritage Society, the Lehman Brothers Advisory Board, the Haas Business School at the University of California at Berkeley, and as an overseer of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Mr. Leach served as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1995 to 1997.


Ambassador James Lowenstein

James LowensteinJames Lowenstein served as US Ambassador to Luxembourg from 1977 to 1981 and served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs from 1974 to 1977 with particular responsibility for NATO.

Mr. Lowenstein was Formerly Chairman of both Baltic Investments SA and Formerly Chairman of the Ukraine Fund Limited. He has been Director of ACP Capital Limited since July 2008. Mr. Lowenstein also served as a Member of the Advisory Board of the Foreign and Colonial American Major Companies Fund. He has been decorated with the Legion of Honor (France) and the Grand Croix de al Courenne de Chene (Luxembourg).

He served as a U.S, Navy officer aboard USS Coral Sea in the Mediterranean as division officer and on the Naval War College staff.


Ambassador Gerald S. McGowan

Gerald S McGowan 200Gerald S. McGowan was the U.S. Ambassador to Portugal from 1998-2001. He currently is Of Counsel to Lukas, Nace, Guitterez and Sachs.

Mr. McGowan is a telecommunications industry veteran with over 30 years experience, has served on the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) Board of Directors, and was instrumental in launching several successful telecommunications business ventures. He currently serves on the board of Portugal Telecom and the Advisory Board of Banco Espirito Santo, a New York based investment bank.

Gerry was a founding principal of the Washington, D.C. law firm Lukas, McGowan, Nace & Gutierrez where he practiced telecommunications law for over 20 years. His background includes serving as clerk to Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas G. Kavanagh and assistant to the late U.S. Senator Phillip A. Hart. In addition, Gerry served on the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) as well as on the Board of the Virginia Port Authority. Gerry received a B.S from Georgetown University followed by a Law Degree from Georgetown University Law Center.


Ambassador Louise V. Oliver

Ambassador Louise V. Oliver Ambassador Louise V. Oliver served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from February 2004 to January 2009. She is now a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C., and president of the French-American Cultural Foundation.

As the first U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO in twenty years, Ambassador Oliver was responsible for rebuilding the U.S. Mission as well as for the entire U.S. reengagement with UNESCO and its 192 member states. In order to advance U.S. programmatic and policy initiatives at UNESCO, she worked with numerous departments and agencies of the U.S. government including the Departments of State, Education, Energy, Commerce, Health and Human Services, and Interior. She also worked closely with the National Security Council, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Library of Congress, as well as with numerous nonprofit organizations.

During the Reagan Administration Ambassador Oliver worked in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel and at the U.S. Department of Education. In 1989 she was appointed by President George H.W. Bush as a Commissioner on the National Commission on Children.
Because of her strong interest in philanthropy and the private sector, Ambassador Oliver helped found the Philanthropy Roundtable, a national organization of individual and corporate grant makers. As vice-chairman and subsequently chairman of that organization, Ambassador Oliver provided advice and guidance to both donors and nonprofit organizations.

Ambassador Oliver has served on the boards of a number of organizations including the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the Center for Educational Reform, the American University in Bulgaria, the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, and the Global Policy Research Institute at Purdue University. She is a member of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs and a director of the Council of American Ambassadors.

Ambassador Oliver graduated with distinction from Smith College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She is married to Daniel Oliver, and they have five children.


Ambassador Penne Korth Peacock

Ambassador Penne Korth PeacockThe Honorable Penne Korth Peacock presently serves as a Commissioner on the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. She was appointed to the bipartisan commission in 1997 by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the United States Senate.

Penne Peacock was appointed by President George Bush to the position of United States Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Mauritius She was President Bush's first woman appointee when named to Co-Chair his American Bicentennial Presidential Inaugural.

Now living in Austin, Texas, she is a member of the Advisory Board of The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas and Friends of The Governor’s Mansion Board, a member of The Austin Council on Foreign Affairs, and is currently Vice Chairman of the Central Basin Regional Council of the LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority) in Austin.

Ambassador Peacock serves on the Board of Directors of the Council of American Ambassadors, the US-Mauritius Business Council, and as an Emeritus board member of the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens Museum, Washington, D.C. While living in Washington, Peacock served as a member of the boards of the White House Preservation Fund, Vice-Chairman of the Washington Round Table of The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ASDT), the Meridian International Center, and the National Symphony Orchestra. For 15 years she also served as a Director of the Chevy Chase Bank.

Ambassador Peacock was President of Firestone and Korth, Inc. which specialized in events for Heads of State and Government and corporate leaders. Ambassador Peacock attended University of Texas Austin and was President of the Texas-Exes in Washington, D.C.


Ambassador Thomas Pickering

pickeringt 1x1Thomas R. Pickering is Vice Chairman of Hills & Company. Ambassador Pickering served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (1997-2000) and as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation, India, Israel, El Salvador; Nigeria, and Jordan. He also was the U.S. Ambassador and Representative to the United Nations in New York, where he led the U.S. effort to build a coalition in the UN Security Council during and after the first Gulf War. He has held additional positions in Tanzania, Geneva, and Washington, including as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Oceans, Environmental and Scientific Affairs and as Special Assistant to Secretaries of State William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger. After retiring from the State Department in 2000, Ambassador Pickering joined The Boeing Company as Senior Vice President, International Relations and member of the Executive Council. He serves on a number not-for-profit boards. He holds degrees from Bowdoin College, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and the University of Melbourne and speaks French, Spanish, and Swahili fluently and also Arabic, Hebrew and Russian.


Assistant Secretary of State Charles H. Rivkin

AmbassadorCharlesHRivkin200Charles H. Rivkin began serving as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs on February 13, 2014, and was sworn in publicly by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on April 15, 2014. Rivkin leads a bureau at the U.S. State Department that is responsible for managing trade negotiations, investment treaties, economic sanctions, transportation affairs, telecommunications policy, international finance and development related issues, as well as intellectual property right protection.

Prior to his appointment, Rivkin served for more than four years as the United States Ambassador to France and Monaco, leading a diplomatic mission that contains six constituent posts throughout France and represents over 50 U.S. government agencies.

Prior to his government service, Ambassador Rivkin worked in the media sector for over 20 years where he served as President and CEO of award-winning entertainment companies such as The Jim Henson Company and Wildbrain. He spent his early childhood in Luxembourg, Senegal, and The Gambia where his father, William R. Rivkin, was the United States Ambassador under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. In honor of his father, Ambassador Rivkin and his family present the U.S. State Department’s annual Rivkin Award, which has honored “intellectual courage and constructive dissent” among U.S. Foreign Service officers since its creation in 1968.

Ambassador Rivkin received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 1984, graduating with distinction in political science and international relations. He received his M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1988. He was personally awarded the Légion d’honneur with the rank of Commander by French President François Hollande (2013), and received the city of Paris’ highest honor – la Grande Médaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris – from Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo (2015).

Ambassador Paul A. Russo

Paul Russo 300Paul A. Russo has served in senior positions in business, government and national politics throughout his career. He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean (the island nations of Antigua/Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) from 1986 - 1988. As ambassador, his primary focus was on implementing programs to interrupt drug-trafficking and money laundering activities within the region, as well as on the promotion of business development.

Ambassador Russo is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, teaching a course on the modern U.S. Presidency. Mr. Russo also serves as head of the Global Alliance Institute, a Washington-based non-profit committed to building a better understanding between the United States and the Middle East.

He has a strong history of working with bi-partisan organizations comprised of American foreign policy leaders to strengthen U.S./Arab relations. Ambassador Russo served in the Reagan White House as Special Assistant to the President for Political Affairs, and he was also Deputy Under Secretary of Labor. Additionally, he served former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole in several different capacities and also worked for U.S. Senator Robert A. Taft, Jr. of Ohio. Mr. Russo currently serves on the boards of the Council of American Ambassadors; is a member of the advisory board of Dhaani Systems, Inc.; and serves on the Board of Academic Advisors of the Warrior-Scholar Project.

A native of Ohio, Ambassador Russo holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio State University, with additional studies at Case-Western Reserve University and Georgetown University.


Commissioner Ambassador Theodore “Tod” Sedgwick

Ambassador Tod SedgwickAmbassador Tod Sedgwick of Virginia is a Fellow at the Transatlantic Center at The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Study and a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, positions he has held since 2015. He previously served as U.S. Ambassador to the Slovak Republic from 2010 to 2015.

From 1987 to 2010, Sedgwick was President and CEO of Sedgwick Publishing Co. During that period, he was also President and CEO of Red Hills Lumber Co. from 2000 to 2008 and Director of Sedgwick Land Company from 1992 to 1998. In 2001, he founded IO Energy, an online energy information company covering the natural gas, coal, and electricity industries, and served as its Chairman from 2001 to 2004.

He also founded Pasha Publications, a specialty publisher focused on energy, defense and environment markets, and served as the chief executive from 1978 to 1998.

Since 2015, Sedgwick has served on the Board of Directors for the Slovak American Foundation. He is also a Trustee for the Institute of Current World Affairs. He has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Folger Shakespeare Library, Shakespeare Theater Co., the Civil War Preservation Trust, and the Wetlands America Trust. Sedgwick received an A.B. from Harvard College.

Sedgwick is the great-great-grandson of Theodore Sedgwick (1746-1813), a member of the Continental Congress who served in the U.S. Senate, and was the fourth Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. His grandfather, Ellery Sedgwick, Sr., was editor and publisher of Atlantic Monthly magazine. His father, Ellery Sedgwick, Jr., was a naval intelligence officer during the D-Day invasion and his uncle, William Ross Bond, was a brigadier general who was killed in the Vietnam War.

He was appointed to the United States World War One Centennial Commission by then-President Barack Obama.



Ambassador Craig R. Stapleton

Craig Roberts Stapleton 200

The Honorable Craig R. Stapleton is a Senior Advisor at Stone Point Capital in Greenwich, Connecticut. He is a director of Tenax Aerospace and Vivino Inc. He is a co-owner of the St. Louis Cardinals. He was President of Marsh and McLennan Real Estate Advisors of New York from 1982 until 2001.

During the administration of George H. W. Bush, Ambassador Stapleton served on the Board of the Peace Corps. From 2005 to 2009, he served as Ambassador to France. In 2009, French President Nicolas Sarkozy named him Commandeur of the Legion of Honor. He was designated an honorary citizen of Deauville, Chateauneuf du Pape, Rocamadour, and Vienne. From 2001 to 2004, Stapleton served as Ambassador to the Czech Republic. He was given the Jan Masaryk Medal for service to the Czech Republic.

Ambassador Stapleton received his secondary school education at Phillips Exeter Academy. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School.

Stapleton serves on the boards of the Vaclav Havel Foundation, the American Friends of Compiegne, the United Way Tocqueville of France, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, and the Trust for the National Mall. He is a Trustee of the American University in Paris and the Fishback Foundation. He has served on the Visiting Committee for Harvard College Athletics and the Committee on University Resources and Athletics.


Ambassador Ronald N. Weiser

Ambassador Ron Wiser

Ambassador Weiser founded McKinley Associates Inc., a national real estate investment company and serves as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.In 2001 Weiser was appointed by President Bush as Ambassador to the Slovak Republic. While at post Ambassador Weiser officially visited all 138 Slovak cities to help further the relationship between the Slovak people and America. In 2004, for his work in furthering the Slovak economic and political relationship with the United States, he received The White Double Cross from Slovak President Rudolph Schuster, the highest award given to non-Slovaks. Also in 2004 he received the Cultural Pluralism Award from the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad for his work in the restoration of the Jewish cemetery in Zakopane, Poland, and one of Slovakia’s most cherished historical sites, the medieval Trencin Castle.

Before becoming a U.S. Ambassador, Weiser served on the Boards of Directors of numerous non-profit organizations. Among them he has chaired or co-chaired the National Board of the Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning at the University of Michigan, the Detroit Institute of the Arts, United Negro College Fund of Washtenaw County, the Michigan Theater, Artrain USA, and was Treasurer and Finance Chair of The Henry Ford Museum. Together with his wife, Eileen, Ambassador Weiser in 1984 created the McKinley Foundation, a public community foundation. He currently serves as a Trustee or Director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, The Henry Ford, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and the Industry Board of Revetas Capital Advisors LLP.

In November, 2016 he was elected to an 8-year term to the University of Michigan Board of Regents.

Ambassador Weiser has chaired numerous political and judicial campaigns. >He served as National Finance Chair of Greitens for Missouri (Governor’s Race), and in May 2016 became the Vice Chair of RNC Victory Campaign. The Ambassador also served as a Vice Chair of the Trump Victory Campaign and Trump Inaugural Committee. In January, 2017 he was re-elected as the Chairman of the Michigan Republican Committee.

He was born in South Bend, Indiana on July 7, 1945 and graduated with honors in 1966 from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He also did post-graduate work at the University’s Business and Law Schools. He and Eileen were married in 1983 and live in Ann Arbor with their son, Daniel, born October 1, 2000. The Weisers also have two married children, Elizabeth and Marc, and five grandchildren.


Former Diplomatic Advisors