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Ambassador Charles Ray | Multiple Events | American Diplomacy | Jan 23



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Blueprints for a More Modern US Diplomatic Service

Ambassador Charles Ray

U.S. Foreign Service (Retired), Chair, Africa Program and Trustee, Foreign Policy Research Instittute & Former U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia and Zimbabwe

Tuesday, January 23, 2024


Suite 800, 150 3rd Avenue South, Nashville

11:30 Registration and Networking
12:00-1:00 Program

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Barbara Massey Rogers Center Board Room, 1900 Belmont Blvd., Nashville

6:00 Registration and Networking
6:30-7:30 Program

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You’re Invited to Sponsor Ambassador Ray’s Visit – Contact Dr. Liane Hentschke ([email protected])

In Association With


The report Blueprints for a More Modern US Diplomatic Service makes important and often new recommendations to improve serious weaknesses of US diplomacy, including division of responsibility, lack of ability to respond with agility to crisis, and limitations in continuing professional education so essential and required of other professions like law, teaching, and the military.  The report, managed by Arizona State University (ASU) and funded by the Una Chapman Cox Foundation provides detailed recommendations and costs.  The Academy is now undertaking consultations with Congress and the State Department to seek implementation of the report’s recommendations.  Members of Congress are addressing the issue as Senators Bill Hagerty and Ben Cardin did recently at Meridian House. As part of this effort, the Academy wants to broaden the public discussion of diplomacy and the need for change.

About Ambassador Charles Ray

Charles Ray retired from the US Foreign Service in 2012 after a 30-year career. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he spent 20 years in the US Army, retiring with the rank of Major. During his army career, he did two tours in Vietnam, served in Military Intelligence, Special Operations and Public Affairs, with assignments in Germany, Korea, Vietnam, and Panama, as well as several posts in the United States.

During his 30 years in the Foreign Service, he was posted to China, Thailand, Sierra Leona, Vietnam, Cambodia and Zimbabwe. He served as deputy chief of mission in Sierra Leone, was the first US consul general in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and served as ambassador to Cambodia and Zimbabwe. In 2005, he was diplomat in residence at the University of Houston (TX), and from 2006 to 2009 served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs and director of the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office.

Since his retirement from public service in 2012, he has been a fulltime freelance writer, lecturer and consultant, and has done research on leadership and ethics. He is the author of more than 200 books of fiction and nonfiction. His book Ethical Dilemmas and the Practice of Diplomacy addresses the gray area of conflicting values in the diplomatic service. Ray is a trustee and chair of the Africa Program of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He is a frequent contributor to several online news sites and is an avid photographer and artist whose work has  ppeared in a number of publications.

He is a member of AFSA, the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, the American College of National Security Leaders, the Association of Black American Ambassadors, the American Academy of Diplomacy, and a member of the board of the Cold War Museum.

He has a B.S. in business administration from Benedictine College, Atchison, KS, an M.S. in systems management from the University of Southern California, and an M.S. in national security strategy from the National War College, National Defense University. In 2001, he received the Thomas Jefferson Award from American citizens Abroad (ACA) for his work in support of American business in southern Vietnam and in 2009 he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service.

Background on the American Academy of Diplomacy

Now in its 40th year, the Academy is a private, non-profit, non-partisan association of over 350 elected members whose distinguished careers have served to promote, strengthen, and advance U.S. diplomacy across a wide range of global issues. The Academy’s mission is to support and strengthen U.S. diplomacy and enhance public appreciation of its critical role in advancing the national interest. In pursuit of its goals, the Academy supports programs that help current and future diplomats and others respond to a world undergoing change, highlights past achievements and future opportunities for U.S. diplomacy, advocates for the resources needed to conduct an effective foreign policy, and fosters constructive debate on the best use of U.S. diplomatic assets.

THE MISSION of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Tennessee World Affairs Council is to promote international awareness, understanding and connections to enhance the region’s global stature and to prepare Tennesseans to thrive in our increasingly complex and connected world.

THE VISION of  the Tennessee World Affairs Council is a well-informed community that thinks critically about the world and the impact of global events.