Amb. Ryan Crocker

Dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, Former United States Ambassador to Iraq

Lessons from a Long War

About the Speaker

Ryan Crocker is Dean and Executive Professor at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where he also holds the Edward and Howard Kruse Endowed Chair.  He retired from the Foreign Service in April 2009 after a career of over 37 years. He served as a U.S. Ambassador five times:  Iraq (2007-2009), Pakistan (2004-2007), Syria (1998-2001), Kuwait (1994-1997), and Lebanon (1990-1993).  He 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 and was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from August 2001 to May 2003.  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 Trustees. He also holds an honorary Doctor of National Security Affairs from the National Defense University (2010).  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Diplomacy.   

Mr. Crocker received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award in 2009.  His other awards include the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service, the National Clandestine Service’s Donovan Award, the Award for Valor and the American Foreign Service Association Rivkin Award for creative dissent.  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, also a member of the Foreign Service prior to her retirement in 2002.  They met in Baghdad in 1979.  She holds the State Department’s Award for Heroism.