Ambassador Ricciardone was appointed by President Obama to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey on January 1 and was sworn in on January 3, 2011. His previous Ambassadorial appointments include Deputy U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010, Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt from 2005 to 2008, and Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of Palau from 2002 to 2005. Prior to that, Ambassador Ricciardone served as Director of the Department's Task Force on the Coalition Against Terrorism and as a Senior Advisor to the Director General of the Foreign Service. From March 1999 until early 2001, he served as the Secretary of State's Special Coordinator for the Transition of Iraq.
Ambassador Ricciardone was born in Boston and graduated from Malden Catholic High School. Upon graduation summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1973, he received a Fulbright Scholarship for teaching and study in Italy. He went to Iran as a teacher in 1976, traveling widely in Southwest Asia, Europe, and the Middle East until he entered the Foreign Service in 1978.
Ambassador Ricciardone's Foreign Service assignments include two tours in Turkey, most recently (1995-1999) as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d'Affaires; and service in Cairo, Amman, and London. He served in two multinational military deployments: as chief of the Civilian Observer Unit of the Multinational Force and Observers in Egypt's Sinai Desert, and as Political Advisor to the U.S. and Turkish commanding generals of Operation Provide Comfort, based in Turkey and operating in Iraq. In Washington, DC, Ambassador 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. He has won high awards for policy and program management and for political reporting.
Mr. Ricciardone speaks Italian, Turkish, Arabic, and French.