Date(s) - 02/08/2019
9:00 am - 10:00 am

Sands Regency Hotel

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If you find you are unable to attend the presentation, please

email Patty at We are charged for no-shows.

Please RSVP for this upcoming National Security Forum Program

Sand’s Regency Hotel Casino

345 N. Arlington

“Diplomacy in National Security”

Why it works and when it doesn’t

A Presentation and Discussion With

Ambassador Joseph G. Sullivan

Career Minister in the U.S. Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Friday Feb 8th 9:00a.m. at The Sands Regency Hotel & Casino

The role of diplomacy in national security has stimulated extensive discussions over many decades, but perhaps none have been as poignant and timely as those taking place over the last few years. Think-tanks to non-governmental organizations to academic classrooms to government chambers have hosted scholars, diplomats, intelligence experts, public-policy practitioners, military leaders, and many others to review ways in which U.S. diplomacy can and should play a role in the world, today and in the future. Central to these discussions are analyses of what approaches have worked in the past and what is likely to succeed in the future.

As we, the country and the world, stand on a precipice teetering between globalism and nationalism it is critical that we take several deep breaths and carefully examine not just the successes and failures of U.S. diplomacy, but also consider the lessons we have learned (not just observed) over many decades as global leader and moral compass. NSF is honored to have one of the best teachers and guides to take us on this journey of reflection.

Ambassador Joseph Sullivan will share his insight and wisdom about how diplomacy has shaped U.S. national security. Drawing on 38 years in diplomatic service, he will explore with the NSF the ins and outs of foreign diplomacy, highlighting what happens behind the scenes as well as in front of the cameras. He will show us why Americans are inclined to think we must solve every problem that exists in the world and why we convince ourselves that we, and we alone, have a solution to all the world’s problems.

Facing the hard decisions of when the U.S. should engage both diplomatically and militarily in global conflicts and when the cost of American blood and treasure is too high to pay for the anticipated gain is a critical step. Amb Sullivan will walk us through examples from over three decades of experiences in Latin America, post-revolution Portugal, the Middle East, and Africa, and share with us where and when the U.S. was able to accomplish our goals and where, when and why we failed.

Finding those cases where the U.S. could advance American interests abroad and be a force for good in the world is a challenge, one fraught with missteps and unintended consequences. Amb Sullivan has seen many cases when the U.S. successfully mobilized both ourselves and like-minded allies, and when we did not. Despite challenges and diplomatic errors and course corrections, Amb Sullivan continues to believe that America’s global power and influence is good for American and that our power in the world is strengthened and multiplied (not diminished) by our diplomatic and military alliances.

NSF is very grateful to Ted Morse for sponsoring Ambassador Sullivan’s visit to Reno. His generosity will help us all rest better at night knowing that there are dedicated diplomats around the world protecting us and strengthening national security.

Ambassador Joseph G. Sullivan, retired in 2008 as a Career Minister in the United States Senior Foreign Service with 38 years of diplomatic service in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Europe. Amb Sullivan served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe from 2001-2004, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Angola from 1998-2001, Chief of Mission of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba from 1993-1996 and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs from 1988-1992. Amb Sullivan served as Diplomat in Residence at Tulane University from 2004-2006, and while there, was designated as the Secretary of State’s personal representative to coordinate the Department of State’s efforts to coordinate international assistance and assist international victims in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. In 2017, he became Chair of the Foreign Service Association of Northern California. He has published a memoir, “A Diplomat’s Journey from the Middle East to Cuba to Africa” in 2014. Amb Sullivan received Presidential Distinguished Service Awards in 1993 and 2004. He has an M.A. degree in Government from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Tufts University and speaks Portuguese, Spanish, Hebrew and French. Joe was born in Boston, Massachusetts and has two sons.

A full breakfast will be served ($20 Members, $30 Non-Members, and $10 for students with ID and military personnel in uniform; free for WWII Veterans). We recommend that you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some breakfast, coffee, and conversation. Breakfast service and registration open at 7:45 a.m.

Please RSVP below. Membership forms will be available at the forum, though you can also access the application form by clicking HERE. For your convenience, we accept cash, check and credit card payments for both the breakfast and membership fees.


Bookings are closed for this event.