Ambassador to Iraq: Who Is Robert Stephen Beecroft?
A career diplomat who has been running the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, since June 1 was nominated on September 10 by President Barack Obama to be the next ambassador there. In mid-June Obama’s original choice for the job, Brett McGurk, was forced to withdraw his candidacy after the revelation of racy emails sent in 2008 between the married diplomat, then stationed in Baghdad, and reporter Gina Chon, whom he later married.
Born circa 1961, Beecroft earned a BA from Brigham Young University in 1982 and a JD from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988. He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints (Mormons) in Venezuela, circa 1982-1984. He told LDS Church News, “"I distinctly remember my father taking me aside and teaching me to look for the person in need. He used to send my brothers and me out at Christmas time with money in envelopes to anonymously deposit in the mailboxes of people in our community who were in need.”
Before joining the Foreign Service in 1994, Beecroft practiced law in San Francisco. Overseas, Beecroft has specialized in Middle East affairs, serving at the embassies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Damascus, Syria. Beecroft’s assignments in Washington have included service in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and Executive Secretariat. He served as special assistant to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, and as executive assistant to Secretaries of State Colin Powell (from 2004 to 2005) and Condoleezza Rice (from 2005 to 2008).
He returned to the Middle East to serve as ambassador at the embassy in Amman, Jordan, from July 17, 2008 to June 4, 2011. He joined the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, as deputy chief of mission on July 14, 2011, and became chargé d’affaires upon the departure of Ambassador James Jeffrey on June 1, 2012.
He is married to Anne Tisdel Beecroft, who also earned a BS at BYU in 1982, as well as a JD from BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School in 1985. The couple has four children, Blythe, Warren, Sterling and Grace.
Ambassador Stephen Beecroft Receives Human Rights Award (by Page Johnson, LDS Church News)
A Diplomatic Life (by Brittany Karford Rogers, BYU Magazine)
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