U.S. Ambassador to Egypt: Who Is Stephen Beecroft?
On May 8, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Robert Stephen Beecroft to be the U.S. ambassador to Egypt. He was confirmed by the Senate on June 26. This is Beecroft’s third ambassadorial posting, having previously served in Jordan and Iraq.
Beecroft, 56, is from San Diego, where his father was an attorney and land developer. He earned a B.A. in English and Spanish in 1982 from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Beecroft served the customary mission with his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), in Venezuela.
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.”
He then earned a law degree from UC Berkeley in 1988. After law school, Beecroft practiced for a few years with the firm of Graham & Jones in San Francisco.
In 1994, Beecroft joined the Foreign Service. His first posting was in the Middle East, as a consular officer in Damascus, Syria, and most of his career has been focused on that region. He moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1996 as consular and political officer, remaining there two years.
Beecroft returned to Washington in 1998, working first as a staff officer and operations officer in the Secretariat, then as deputy assistant secretary of state for political/military affairs. Much of his work during this period involved the campaign to remove landmines from former conflict areas. He spearheaded training programs in landmine clearning for those in affected countries.
In 2003, Beecroft was named special assistant to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, and the following year was special assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Beecroft remained in the job when Condoleezza Rice took over the State Department.
Beecroft served as ambassador to Jordan from July 17, 2008 to June 4, 2011. In one cable from October 2009, released by WikiLeaks, Beecroft bemoaned the lack of real reforms despite promises by King Abdullah II. “Jordan's politicians are looking intently to the King for direction, eagerly (and in some cases nervously) anticipating a royal ruling on the future of reform. They have received almost nothing. The King has been largely absent from the political scene as of late and sphinxlike in his increasingly rare public appearances.”
Beecroft was transferred to Baghdad, Iraq, on July 14, 2011, serving as deputy chief of mission. He took over the sprawling embassy there when Ambassador James Jeffrey left on June 1, 2012, and was named ambassador himself when Obama’s original choice for the job, Brett McGurk, was forced to withdraw.
Beecroft’s wife, Anne Tisdel Beecroft, is also a BYU graduate, with a B.A. and J.D.. The Beecrofts have four children, Blythe, Warren, Sterling and Grace.
To Learn More:
A Diplomatic Life (by Brittany Karford Rogers, BYU Magazine)
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