Thursday, February 18, 2010

Officially In: Robert S. Ford to Damascus

great mosque of damascus 709-15 AD, syria, eas...Image by seier+seier+seier via Flickr

On February 16, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Robert Stephen Ford to be Ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic. The WH released the following official bio:

Robert Stephen Ford is presently Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq. Mr. Ford is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Ambassador to Algeria on May 27, 2006, and sworn in on August 11, 2006. Mr. Ford served from 2004 until 2006 and again from 2008 until 2009 as the Political Counselor to the U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq and was Deputy Chief of Mission in Bahrain from 2001 until 2004.

Mr. Ford has also served in a number of other posts since entering the Foreign Service in 1985, including Izmir, Cairo, Algiers, and Yaoundé. Mr. Ford earned a Master of Arts in 1983 from Johns Hopkins University. He is a recipient of a number of Department of State awards, including the 2005 James Clement Dunn Award for outstanding work at the mid-level in the Foreign Service as well as three Superior Honor Awards and two Meritorious Honor awards. Mr. Ford speaks German, Turkish, French, and Arabic.

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According to this bio from the Bush WH archives (2006), Ambassador Ford grew up in Denver, Colorado. He earned his Bachelors' Degree from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and his Masters Degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Prior to joining the Foreign Service as an Economics Officer in 1985, Mr. Ford served in the Peace Corps in Morocco. Mr. Ford's assignments have included Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Cameroon, and Bahrain, where he served as the Deputy Chief of Mission.

Mr. Ford went from Bahrain to Iraq to open the CPA office in Najaf, where he served from August to December 2003. In June 2004, he returned to Iraq to standup the Political Section in the new American Embassy. Mr. Ford worked closely with Iraqi authorities in advance of the January 2005 elections, the establishment of the transition government, the writing of the new constitution, the October 2005 referendum and, finally, the December 2005 national elections.

His awards include three Superior Honor Awards, two Meritorious Honor Awards, and the State Department's 2005 James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence that recognizes leadership, intellectual skills, managerial ability, and personal qualities that most fully exemplify the standards of excellence desired of employees at the mid-career level. Mr. Ford and his wife Alison, who is also a Foreign Service Officer serving in Baghdad, make their home in Baltimore, Maryland.

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