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Name: Ricciardone, Francis
Current Position: Previous Ambassador

Francis J. “Frank” Ricciardone, Jr., a career member of the Senior Foreign Service who speaks Turkish, has returned to Turkey for his third tour of duty there. President Barack Obama nominated Ricciardone on July 1, 2010. However, Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) blocked a Senate confirmation vote on him. Ricciardone served as President George W. Bush’s ambassador to Egypt from 2005 to 2008, and received public support from some Egyptian democracy activists. But back in the United States, Brownback and other conservatives claimed that Ricciardone was not aggressive enough in pursuing democracy in Egypt. When Ricciardone’s confirmation failed to come to a vote after more than five months, Obama gave him a recess appointment on December 29. His term will run out at the end of 2011.

 
Ricciardone was born in Boston in 1952, the son of Francis C. Ricciardone, Sr., a Seabee veteran of World War II, and graduated from Malden Catholic High School.  He earned a B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1973, and received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach and study in Italy.  He also went to Iran, before the Islamic revolution there, as a teacher in 1976, and traveled widely in Southwest Asia, Europe, and the Middle East until he joined the Foreign Service in 1978. 
 
After early assignments in Turkey, London, and elsewhere, Ricciardone was appointed to be Political Officer at the embassy in Cairo, Egypt, from 1986 to 1989, and remained in the region an additional four years, serving as Chief of the Civilian Observer Unit of the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai Desert from 1989 to 1991, and as Deputy Chief of Mission at the embassy in Amman, Jordan, from 1991 to 1993. Returning to the Middle East in 1995, he served again in Turkey, as Deputy Chief of Mission at the embassy in Ankara, where he remained for two tours into 1999. He was then appointed Special Coordinator for the Transition of Iraq, a post he held from 1999 to 2001, when he took on the dual roles of Senior Advisor to the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of the Task Force on the Coalition Against Terrorism, from 2001 to 2002. 
 
Heading to East Asia for his first ambassadorship, Ricciardone served as Ambassador to the Philippines and Palau from 2002 to 2005, followed immediately by a three-year stint as Ambassador to Egypt from 2005 to 2008. While at this post, Ricciardone sent a secret diplomatic cable back to Washington, since made public by Wikileaks, in which he described the government of President Hosni Mubarak as a “dictatorship” suffering from “paranoia,” and speculated on the possibility of Mubarak’s being succeeded by his son, Gamal, whose failure to complete his military service may pose a large stumbling block. 
 
Ricciardone took a one-year leave of absence from the State Department in 2008 to serve as a guest scholar at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, DC. At State Department headquarters, Ricciardone has served in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and in senior management positions under the Director General of the Foreign Service and of Human Resources.
 
In addition to Turkish, Ricciardone speaks Italian, Arabic, and French. He and his wife Marie, a molecular biologist who was educated and later taught in Turkey during their previous tours there, have two children, Francesca and Chiara, one of whom, Francesca, was born in Turkey. Both daughters were educated in Ankara for three years. Marie Ricciardone served as an international affairs officer in the State Department’s Office of Environmental Policy and was Program Manager for USAID’s US-Asian Environmental Partnership. She was also the Program Coordinator for the U.S. Scientist Engagement Program in Libya.
 
Mr. Ricciardone Goes to Ankara (by ─░lhan Tanir, Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review)
Ricciardone: Iraq Needs Democracy (by Griffin Gordon, The Dartmouth)
 
 
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