Ambassador to Bulgaria: Who is Marcie Ries?

Sunday, June 03, 2012
A senior Foreign Service officer with 31 years of experience in Europe, the Caribbean and the Middle East, Marcie Berman Ries was nominated by President Barack Obama in May 2012 to serve as ambassador to Bulgaria. Over the course of her diplomatic career, Ries has been a specialist in national security and political-military matters while dealing with issues related to NATO, strategic and theater arms control, the Balkans and Iraq.
 
Born in 1950, Ries attended Oberlin College in Ohio, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in 1972. She attended graduate school at Johns Hopkins University and earned her Master of Arts from the School of Advanced International Studies in 1974. She is also a graduate of the State Department’s Senior Seminar and attended the Department of Defense’s Pinnacle Course.
 
She joined the Foreign Service in 1978 and served as the political officer in the U.S. embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
 
Returning to the U.S. in 1981, Ries served as an international relations officer in the Office of Strategic Nuclear Policy until 1983.
 
She was posted to Turkey from 1984-1986 as a political officer in the U.S. embassy in Ankara. From 1986 to 1988, Ries served in Malta and as the Vatican Desk Officer.
 
She was stationed in Washington, DC, beginning in 1988 as the deputy head of the political section in the Office of European Regional Political Military Affairs. In 1990, she was the French Desk Officer until 1991, when she was a Pearson Fellow while working as an assistant to U.S. Representative Dante Fascell (D-Florida).
 
In 1992, Ries was sent to Europe to serve as the State Department’s deputy political counselor in the U.S. Mission to the European Union (EU) for four years.
 
She transferred to London in 1996 and spent the next four years as a political counselor in the U.S. embassy.
 
From 2001 to 2003, Ries was the director of the Office of UN Political Affairs in the State Department.
 
She went back to Europe in 2003 and was chief of mission in Kosovo. She spent part of 2004 as the State Department’s senior advisor for post-conflict reconstruction and stabilization before becoming U.S. ambassador to Albania, while her husband, Charles, was ambassador to neighboring Greece.
 
Three years later, Ries and her husband moved on to Iraq, where she was minister-counselor for political-military affairs in Baghdad and he headed the embassy’s economic team. Among her other responsibilities, she led the U.S. delegation that met with the ambassador from Iran when he visited Iraq.
 
Back in Washington, Ries was principal deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs. In this capacity, she was responsible for policy and management of relations with NATO, the EU and Western Europe, as well as strategic planning and personnel.
 
Prior to her appointment as ambassador to Bulgaria, Ries served in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance as deputy assistant secretary for nuclear and strategic policy. She was responsible for the management of the offices of Multilateral and Nuclear Affairs, Strategic Affairs, and the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center. Further, she served as the deputy START negotiator for the strategic arms reduction talks with the Russian Federation.
 
After leaving the State Department after 31 years, Charles Ries joined the RAND Corporation as a senior fellow in February 2009, but took a leave of absence from July 2010 to January 2011 to serve as executive vice president of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. In April 2012 he was named vice president, international at the RAND. The couple has a son and a daughter. Marcie Ries’ languages include Turkish, Spanish and French.
-Noel Brinkerhoff

Marcie Ries Biography
(State Department)

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