Conference Speakers

Opening Speaker: Ryan Crocker | Closing Speaker: John Koenig

NWMUN-Seattle 2020 Opening Speaker: Ryan Crocker

Dean and Executive Professor at the George Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University;

former US Ambassador to Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan


Ryan Crocker is Dean and Executive Professor at the George Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University, where he holds the Edward and Howard Kruse Endowed Chair. He was the James Schlesinger Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia (2012-2014), and he served as the first Kissinger Senior Fellow at Yale University (2012-2013). Previously, Crocker served in the foreign service for over 37 years, retiring in 2009 before being recalled to active duty by President Obama to serve as US Ambassador to Afghanistan in 2011. He has served as US Ambassador six times: Afghanistan (2011-2012), Iraq (2007-2009), Pakistan (2004-2007), Syria (1998-2001), Kuwait (1994-1997), and Lebanon (1990-1993).

Ambassador Crocker was born in Spokane, Washington. He grew up in an Air Force family, attending schools in Morocco, Canada, and Turkey, as well as the US. He received a BA in English in 1971 from Whitman College. and joined the foreign service that same year. He held assignments in Washington DC as well as in Iran, Qatar, Iraq, and Egypt. 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.

Additional Information

Ambassador Crocker received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2001 from his alma mater, Whitman College. He also holds an honorary Doctorate in National Security Affairs from the National Defense University (2010), honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Gonzaga University (2009) and Seton Hall University (2012), as well as an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the American University of Afghanistan (2013). He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Diplomacy, and the Association of American Ambassadors. In August 2013, he was confirmed by the United States Senate to serve on the Broadcasting Board of Governors which oversees all U.S. government-supported civilian international media. He is also on the Board of Directors of Mercy Corps International.

Ambassador Crocker received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, in 2009. His other awards include the Veterans of Foreign Wars Dwight D. Eisenhower Award (2014), Presidential Distinguished and Meritorious Service Awards, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award (2008 and 2012), the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service (1997 and 2008) and for Distinguished Public Service (2012), the Award for Valor and the American Foreign Service Association Rivkin Award for creative dissent. He received the National Clandestine Service’s Donovan Award in 2009 and the Director of Central Intelligence’s Director’s Award in 2012. In 2011, he was awarded the Marshall Medal by the Association of the United States Army. 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.

More On Ryan Crocker:

Ambassador Ryan Crocker's bio at the American Academy of Diplomacy

INTERVIEW: January 2020 interview with Ryan Crocker on the killing of Qassem Soleimani

ARTICLE: Crocker says closing US Embassy in Baghdad would be 'incredibly irresponsible'

NWMUN-Seattle 2020 Closing Speaker: John Koenig

Former US Ambassador to Cyprus and US Political Advisor to NATO Joint Forces Command;

International Relations Instructor, University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies

John M. Koenig has been an International Relations Instructor at the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies since 2017. A career member of the U.S. Foreign Service for more than 30 years, Koenig was the United States Ambassador to Cyprus from August 2012 to July 2015. He was appointed by President Obama to spearhead U.S. support of Cyprus settlement efforts in close coordination with the United Nations and the conflicting parties. From 2009 to 2012, Koenig served as the Political Advisor to the NATO Joint Forces Command, playing a leading role in coordination of alliance operations and policy in the Western Balkans and advising three U.S. four-star commanders on all political-military issues in the region. From 2006 to 2009, Koenig was the Deputy Chief of Mission in Berlin, Germany where he coordinated more than 2000 Embassy employees and reinvigorated strategic ties with the EU and G8. Koenig was Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative at NATO Headquarters in Brussels from 2003 to 2006, as the alliance took on the ISAF mission in Afghanistan and expanded engagement in the Middle East.

Additional Information

In recognition of his policy and leadership roles in Berlin and at U.S. NATO, Koenig received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award in 2011. He has also received many U.S. State Department Senior Performance and Superior Honor Awards. Koenig is a native Washingtonian and earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington, followed by a Master of Arts in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.