Ambassador Ronald L. Schlicher, USFS (Ret)
September 16, 1956 – September 26, 2019
The World Affairs Council family lost a dear friend this week with the passing of Ron Schlicher.
Ambassador Schlicher has been a regular part of our organization for many years working to improve the global affairs awareness of our community and especially our young people.
Ron stepped up every time he was asked and sometimes just jumped in to make things happen. He made a major contribution to everything from screening documentaries on American Foreign Service Officers, to serving as a specialist on panels or as a speaker at Global Town Halls and seminars, to enthusiastically serving on International Careers panels — inspiring young people to seek their own global adventures in their working lives. Ron was committed to a life of service, not just as a senior career diplomat, reaching the rank of Minister Counselor in the Foreign Service, but also back in his Tennessee home giving back to the people.
You will read the titles of the important jobs for America in his bio below but be mindful that the resume Ron Schlicher built in the diplomatic corps was not the easy road. He did the tough jobs in the tough places.
This week I read about one of his adventures during his Iraq days — a foray one would never imagine for a Foreign Service Officer mostly because we don’t know how valuable and courageous the men and women like Ron are in service to the country.
From the Chattanooga Free Press article about his passing:
“…He later became a deputy assistant secretary of state, serving as coordinator for Iraq in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and was in charge of the several offices in the Near East Bureau dealing with Iraqi issues.
“In a column he wrote in 2014 during his own tour of duty in Iraq, Rich Galen, one-time spokesman for U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, described seeing Schlicher, a minister-counselor, at the Battle of Falujah, the city ISIS and Sunni insurgents had seized from the Iraqi government.
“Calling it “probably the most dangerous place on Earth right now,” Galen wrote that while it was a “cliche” in Washington and Baghdad to “make fun of State Department people,” Schlicher and Ambassador Dick Jones donned body armor and Kevlar helmets and spent “three days and two nights in the belly of the beast. They didn’t solve it, but they bought everyone some much-needed time to cool down.”
“It was, perhaps, the bravest single act I have personally witnessed since I have been here,” Galen wrote.”
Ron Schlicher’s friends at the World Affairs Council will miss him but we take solace in knowing that America produces such patriots as him and that we were beneficiaries of a small piece of his selfless service.
Friday, Oct. 4, 5-8pm Eastern time and Sat., Oct. 5 11:00 am– 12:30pm
Lane Funeral Home and Cremation Services
601 Ashland Terrace
Chattanooga, TN 37415
Sat., Oct. 5, 1pm Eastern Time
Red Bank United Methodist Church
3800 Dayton Blvd.
Chattanooga, TN 37415
Cranmore Cove Cemetery
Dayton, TN 37321
In lieu of flowers – message from Ron’s family:
There is a charity that we think Ron would like. Our brother Mike participated in several mission trips to Kenya over the years and developed a strong relationship with a pastor in the village he visits. Mike endowed a widows home/ children’s orphanage there several years ago. The minister who oversees the facility named in it honor of our paternal grandmother, Cora Schlicher, and Cousin, Theola Gravett. Theirs was a great human interesting story. Granny was a struggling mother of three small children during the Depression. Although she could scarcely feed her own kids she adopted homeless Theola. They made it through some exceedingly hard times and shared an incredible bond until Granny died. Theola then became our surrogate grandmother. In honor of their struggle, Mike assists the orphanage and widows home. Attached is a photo – it is very basic, but it is grand to them. A little money goes a very long way there. Donations are processed via a group in Washington state. Here is a link and the address to send donations to:
Stars of Kenya— Theola & Cora Schlicher Foundation Centre for Orphans & Widows
3821 S Ridgeview Drive
Spokane Valley, WA 99206
About Ambassador Ronald Schlicher
A member of the Senior Foreign Service, Ronald Lewis Schlicher served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Coordinator of Counterterrorism in the State Department, a position he assumed on September 2, 2008.
The son of a boilermaker with the Tennessee Valley Authority, Schlicher was born September 16, 1956, in Sylacauga, Alabama, and grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He attended college at the University of Tennessee, earning a Bachelor of Arts in history (1978). He stayed on to attend law school, and received his law degree in 1981,
The following year he joined the Foreign Service. His first assignment was as vice-consul in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia(1982-1984), followed by a stint in Syria as consul (1984-1986).
He returned to the states to serve as staff assistant in the Bureau of Near East Affairs (NEA) to Assistant Secretary Richard Murphy. From 1987-1989, he held the post of deputy principal officer in Alexandria, Egypt. He remained in Egypt, but then moved to the embassy in Cairo, serving as first secretary specializing in internal Egyptian politics and Islamic movements (1989-1991).
In 1991-1992, he was chief civilian observer in the Multinational Force and Observers, the organization that monitors the security provisions of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. Returning to the State Department in Washington, Schlicher served from 1992-1994 as a Deputy Director for Regional Affairs in the Office of the Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism. From 1994-1997, he served as deputy chief of mission in Beirut, Lebanon.
For the next three years, until 2000, Schlicher was the director of the Office of Egyptian and North African Affairs in the NEA. From 2000-2002, he served as chief of mission and consul-general in Jerusalem, Israel, where he was the Bush administration’s principal contact with Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.
During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Schlicher was director of the Iraq Task Force. He then served for six months in Iraq with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), first as Regional Coordinator for the North and then as director of the Office of Provincial Outreach. While in Iraq, he lobbied against the Bush administration’s policy of excluding Sunnis from positions of power.
He was then made Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the NEA, where he served as Coordinator for Iraq.
That same year Schlicher was appointed to his first ambassadorship—to Cyprus. In 2003, it was announced that President Bush had chosen him to be ambassador to Tunisia, but he was sent to Iraq instead. He remained in Cyprus, from which he kept an eye on events in the Middle East, until September 2008.
Schlicher is fluent in Arabic (several dialects) and French.
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