Luncheon Speaker’s Biography September 24, 2018
Ambassador Robert Mason Beecroft
Ambassador Beecroft retired from the Foreign Service in 2006 with the rank of Career Minister-Counselor, after 35 years of service. From 2006 to 2009, he was Vice President for Diplomacy and Development at MPRI, Inc., a division of the L-3 Corporation. He returned to the State Department from 2009 to 2016 as a Supervisory Senior Inspector in the Office of the Inspector General, leading inspections of U.S. diplomatic operations in Kuwait, Syria, Taiwan, Vietnam, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and five geographic and functional bureaus in the State Department. During the same period, he also conducted independent studies for the American Academy of Diplomacy and the U.S. Institute of Peace, focusing on the professional education and training of American diplomats and the use of Special Envoys in conflict diplomacy.
From 2004 to 2006, Ambassador Beecroft was a Professor of National Security Strategy at the National War College in Washington. From 2001 to 2004, following his confirmation as Ambassador by the Senate, he served in Sarajevo, leading the Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), with a civilian and military staff of eight hundred people from thirty countries. He was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997, following an earlier assignment in Sarajevo as Special Envoy for the Bosnian Federation and Acting Chief of Mission (Chargé d’Affaires) at the U.S. Embassy.
As a junior and mid-grade Foreign Service Officer, he served overseas as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Jordan and Burkina Faso; Counselor for Political and Economic affairs at the U.S. Mission to NATO (Brussels); political officer at Embassies Cairo, Bonn and Paris; State Department advisor-expert on the SALT TWO strategic nuclear arms control negotiations in Geneva; Special Assistant to the American Ambassador to France; and Deputy Political Advisor to Supreme Allied Commander Andrew Goodpaster at NATO military headquarters (SHAPE) in Belgium. His Washington assignments included Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, Senior Coordinator for Bosnian Implementation, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State, Officer-in-Charge of Federal German Affairs, and nuclear arms control specialist in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.
Amb. Beecroft is the recipient of two personal Superior Honor Awards, four group Superior Honor Awards, and numerous Performance Awards and Meritorious Step Increases. He is a 1988 graduate of the National War College, and was a member of the Fortieth Senior Seminar at the Foreign Service Institute (1997-98).
Amb. Beecroft is fluent in French, German, Norwegian and Danish, and conversant in several other languages. His hobbies include music (listening and performing), archaeology, snorkeling, hiking, and U.S. Civil War history. He is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, the American Foreign Service Association, the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, the American Council on Germany, the Association of the U.S. Army, the Army Civil Affairs Association, and the Cosmos Club and Army and Navy Club of Washington. Born in Newark, New Jersey, he completed secondary education at the Hotchkiss School and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a B.A. and M.A. in French. He also studied in Paris at the Sorbonne, in Munich at the Goethe-Institut, and on the postgraduate level at the University of Strasbourg. Before joining the Foreign Service, he taught American civilization and English language at the Lycée d’État Fustel de Coulanges in Strasbourg, and French and German language at the University of Pennsylvania, Saint Joseph’s University and Germantown Academy in Philadelphia. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a medical corpsman (1965-68) and Civil Affairs officer (1968-70).
Amb. Beecroft is married to the former Mette Louise Ording Ottesen, Ph.D., a senior consultant at the State Department. As both a volunteer and an employee, Mette has worked to safeguard and improve the quality of life of Foreign Service employees and their families, and has received several State Department awards for her efforts. The Beecrofts’ two grown children, Christopher and Pamela, are also active in international affairs, with a focus on human rights and economic development.