Welcoming the Honorable W. Robert Pearson,
the New President of American Diplomacy Publishers
by Brenda B. Schoonover, Amb.(Ret.)
Outgoing President of the Board of Directors of
American Diplomacy Publishers
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as President of the Board of Directors of American Diplomacy Publishers (ADP) for more than five years and as a member of the Board since 2001.
Following my appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Togo, my late husband, Dick Schoonover and I came to North Carolina in August, 2000 as I embarked on my State Department assignment as Diplomat-in-Residence at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill.
Shortly after our arrival, Dr. Richard Kohn, Chair of the Peace, War and Defense Curriculum at UNC Chapel Hill and a member of the Board of Directors of ADP introduced my husband and me to Dr. Henry Mattox, retired Foreign Service, professor at NC State University and co-founder and editor of American Diplomacy. Henry and his wife, Shelley, kindly took us under their wings and got us involved in the well-established retiree group, Carolina Friends of the Foreign Service (CFFS). Eventually, Henry enlisted me as a member of the Board of Directors of ADP. I have remained active except during my assignment to Brussels from Fall of 2001- Fall of 2004. Later, Henry persuaded my husband Dick, a former public affairs officer, to join as a contributing editor.
My long tenure with ADP has afforded me the opportunity to work with many of the journal’s dedicated founding directors and other dynamic members: retired diplomats, retired military and members of the academic community. I could not have carried out my presidency without that team’s invaluable support. I’ve enjoyed watching the journal thrive as we celebrated milestone anniversaries, the 10th,15th and now the 20th and noting visits to articles climb from 49,000 to 400,000. We benefit from a range of contributing authors who provide an array of material such as international issues, U.S. foreign policy and life in the Foreign Service, accounts of the Peace Corps experience and United States International Development Agency; and celebrating the 50th anniversary of those two agencies.
Ambassador W. Robert Pearson has been unanimously selected as the new president of the Board of Directors of ADP. Robert Pearson brings a wealth of experience including U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and former Director General of the Foreign Service. The leadership of the journal could not be in better hands and I could not be more flattered than to be succeeded by such a talented, highly esteemed retired member of our career Foreign Service. I intend to remain on the board and look forward to supporting our new president.
Congratulations and welcome to Ambassador W. Robert Pearson. He will take American Diplomacy to new heights of excellence, ensuring the journal remains informative, relevant and that it continues to be a vehicle to record and share unique experiences of Foreign Service life, enlightening our readers and encouraging new recruits to the Service.
In 2008, he became President of IREX, an international development NGO based in Washington, spearheading its expansion to reach more than 125 countries worldwide, touching the lives of more than 1 million people. He retired after six years at IREX to pursue his additional interests in international affairs. He has published numerous articles, blogs and opinion pieces on diplomacy, foreign policy, Turkey, NGOs and development. He is a frequent speaker on the role of diplomacy in American engagement abroad, international development and Turkey.
He is a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Council on Foreign Relations. He was educated at Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was Editor of the Virginia Journal of International Law. He is a former JAG officer in the U.S. Navy. His wife, Margaret, is also a retired Senior Foreign Officer and both enjoy reading, travel and golf and their grandchildren.