SpeakerAmbassadors Susan Elliott, Richard Boucher, Robert Cekuta and Ronald Neumann
Date & time
The Weiser Diplomacy Center at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the American Academy of Diplomacy will co-host a discussion with four former ambassadors on the global implications of the war in Ukraine. Ambassador Susan Elliott will consider the war’s implications for NATO and the future of Europe, including whether NATO’s new unity and strength will hold and what the future security architecture of Europe will look like. Ambassador Robert Cekuta will discuss implications for Central Asia and Russia’s “near abroad,” discussing how the war relates to Russia’s imperial history, what it means for the former states of the Soviet Union, and the economic and energy questions it raises. Ambassador Richard Boucher will discuss implications for Asia, including China’s position in this evolving world and how the war in Ukraine will change China’s calculus for Taiwan. Ambassador Ronald Neumann will moderate the panel and provide a perspective on implications for the Middle East.
Career roundtable for students interested in diplomacy and international affairs
Ford School students are invited to join us for Career Roundtables with the four ambassadors on Thursday, October 13 from 9:30 to 11:00 am in the Meijer Lounge, 4th floor Weill Hall. Contact the WDC staff to be added to the waitlist.
From the speakers' bios
Ambassador (ret.) Susan M. Elliott is an accomplished diplomat with a 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, including Civilian Deputy and Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commander of the United States European Command, Deputy Executive Secretary and Director of the Executive Secretariat Staff for former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan from 2012 to 2015, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs. 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. She became President and CEO of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy in August 2018.
Ambassador (ret.) Richard A. Boucher is a senior U.S. diplomat turned teacher. Over a thirty-two year career, he served in numerous leadership positions, including Ambassador to Cyprus (1993-1996) and U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong (1996-1999). 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 served as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia. After retiring from the State Department Ambassador Boucher served as Deputy Secretary-General for Global Affairs at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris. Since 2014 he has taught diplomacy and foreign policy at Brown University, University of Michigan and George Mason University.
Ambassador (ret.) Robert Cekuta has long and extensive experience as a top-level U.S. diplomat. His positions in the State Department included Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy, Sanctions, and Commodities, and U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan from 2015 to 2018. In addition to numerous overseas postings, Ambassador Cekuta 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 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.
Ambassador (ret.) Ronald Neumann is President of the American Academy of Diplomacy, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and former Ambassador to Algeria, Bahrain and Afghanistan from 2005 to 2007. Before Afghanistan, Ambassador Neumann served in Baghdad with the Coalition Provisional Authority and as liaison with the Multinational Command, where he was deeply involved in coordinating the political part of military actions. In addition to his multiple overseas postings he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs and Director of the Office of Northern Gulf Affairs. He was an Army infantry officer in Viet Nam and holds a Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal and Combat Infantry Badge. Ambassador Neumann is the author of Three Embassies, Four Wars: a personal memoir (2017) and The Other War: Winning and Losing in Afghanistan (Potomac Press, 2009). As President of the American Academy of Diplomacy he has focused on maintaining adequate State Department and USAID budgets and staffing.