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2024 Spring Conference, Networks of Influence: Iran, Scene Setting by Ambassador Ryan Crocker

This is the Council's opening speaker during its annual Spring Conference.


Ambassador Ryan Crocker opens the 2024 Spring Conference titled "Networks of Influence: Iran" by providing a historical tour, setting the scene for the region.

Keynote Speaker:

Ambassador Ryan Crocker was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan on July 25, 2011. Prior to this appointment, he served as Dean, Executive Professor, and Edward and Howard Kruse Endowed Chair at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. He retired from the Foreign Service in April 2009 after a career of over 37 years. Ryan Crocker served as Ambassador to Iraq (2007-2009) and Ambassador to Pakistan (2004-2007). He has also served as the International Affairs Advisor at the National War College, where he joined the faculty in 2003. From May to August 2003, he was in Baghdad as the first Director of Governance for the Coalition Provisional Authority. He was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (2001-2003), and served previously as Ambassador to Syria (1998-2001), Ambassador to Kuwait (1994-1997) and Ambassador to Lebanon (1990-1993). Since joining the Foreign Service in 1971, he also has had assignments in Iran, Qatar, Iraq and Egypt, as well as Washington. He was assigned to the American Embassy in Beirut during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the bombings of the embassy and the Marine barracks in 1983. Born in Spokane, Washington, he grew up in an Air Force family, attending schools in Morocco, Canada and Turkey, as well as the U.S. He received a B.A. in English in 1971 and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2001 from Whitman College (Washington). He is a member of the College's Board of Overseers. Ambassador Crocker received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award, in 2009. He received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award in 2007 and 1994 and the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service in 2008 and 1997. He also holds the Secretary of State's Award for Distinguished Service, the Distinguished Honor Award and Award for Valor, three Superior Honor Awards, and the American Foreign Service Association Rivkin Award. In January 2002, he was sent to Afghanistan to reopen the American Embassy in Kabul. He subsequently received the Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award for "exceptional courage and leadership" in Afghanistan. In September 2004, President Bush conferred on him the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the Foreign Service. In May 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the establishment of the Ryan C. Crocker Award for Outstanding Achievement in Expeditionary Diplomacy. He is married to Christine Barnes Crocker, as a member of the Foreign Service prior to her retirement in 2002. She holds the State Department's Award for Heroism.


Ambassador G. Philip Hughes served as the US Ambassador to Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines from November 1990 until July 1993. Prior to this ambassadorial appointment, Ambassador Hughes served as Executive Secretary of the National Security Council in the White House during 1989 and 1990.


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