Senior Foreign Service Officer, ret.
Stephen Buck served as Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from 1996-1999. Prior to retirement in September 2002 after a 39-year career as a Foreign Service Officer he served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge’ d’affaires at the U.S. Embassies in Baghdad, Iraq (from 1986 to 1988 – the end of the Iran-Iraq war) and earlier in the same position at the U.S. Embassy in Muscat, Oman during the Iran hostage crisis and the maneuvering for the creation of CENTCOM. He also served at the U.S. Embassies in Algeria, Lebanon, Yemen, Kuwait, and Mauritania and as State Department Office Director for Egypt and North Africa and desk officer for Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Oman.
As the first Sultan Qaboos Fellow at the Middle East Institute, Mr. Buck co-directed a MacArthur Foundation-funded study of the Persian Gulf through the Year 2000 that led to a book, The Gulf, Energy and Global Security (1991). On detail as the State Department Chair from 1999 to 2001, he taught Political Science, Energy Economics and the Middle East Regional Security Seminar on the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces of the National Defense University. This included frequent participation in war games and similar exercises.
Since retirement Mr. Buck has lectured at the George Mason Life Long Learning Institute and Johns Hopkins’ Evergreen Program on the Arab world, the Foreign Service Institute, American University and other universities and venues under the American Foreign Service Association’s guest speaker program. He also serves on the Board of the Foreign Service Journal and Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East and is a fellow of the Tangier American Legation Institute for Maghreb Studies. In 2006 he lectured on one of the few American ships to visit Libya and in 2007 he was part of a delegation meeting senior officials and a broad cross-section of people in Turkey.
As adjunct Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Mr. Buck taught the 2009 spring semester Regional Security Seminar on North Africa, the Levant and Turkey. In May, 2009, he led a delegation that included Harriet Fulbright, widow of Senator Fulbright, to Egypt, Gaza, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the West Bank, Amman, Damascus, the Golan Heights, and Beirut, meeting with a broad range of top officials and political leaders in each country. In 2010 and 2011 Mr. Buck spent time in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as cultural advisor for the U.S. Army Central Command.
Mr. Buck graduated magna cum laude from Yale in History, and has graduate degrees from Harvard in Middle Eastern Studies and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in international relations and international economics. For then Professor Kissinger, he wrote a Master’s thesis on the Arab-Israeli military balance. Later he did another thesis on the political and economic implications of international trade in liquefied natural gas. He won the first State Department Senior Seminar Prize for his research and paper on Arab investment in the United States. He speaks Arabic and French.
Paul J. Sullivan, PhD
Paul J. Sullivan is a Professor of Economics at the National Defense University. He is also an Adjunct Professor of security studies at Georgetown University and a columnist for Turkiye Gazetesi of Istanbul and the UB Post of Ulanbaator, Mongolia. He is an adjunct senior fellow for Future Global Resource Threats at the Federation of American Scientists. Paul is also an external expert on India at the Gateway House, Indian Council on Global Affairs. Dr. Sullivan is a member of Chatham House, the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), and the International Geothermal Association. In addition, Dr. Sullivan is part of the Water Conflict Prevention Trust at the US Institute of Peace. Previously, he was a senior fellow at the East West Institute, a vice president at the United Nations Association in Washington, DC, and an advisor to a major project on Sudan at the United States Institute of Peace. He taught at the American University in Cairo for six years and was a columnist for The Middle East Times. Dr. Sullivan was also an international energy economist at The Oak Ridge National Laboratory and a consultant to major law firms, pension funds, and others.
He has given over 270 public lectures, is widely published on issues related to energy, water, and food security, economic development (Middle East, North Africa, East, South and North Asia), military and diplomatic issues in the Middle East and North Africa, the economics of war and peace, and many other timely issues. He has been quoted in the media on five continents. Dr. Sullivan has advised leadership in the US and elsewhere on a wide varieties of issues. He is in high demand as a speaker, panelist and adviser not only for his extensive knowledge and experience, but also for his reputation for discretion and getting things done on tight time lines.
He has MA, M.Phil and PhD (Highest Honors) degrees in economics from Yale. He received his BA (Summa Cum Laude, Junior Phi Beta Kappa) from Brandeis University. He is a graduate of the Seminar XXI Program for future leaders at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ali Abu Sedira, PhD
Dr. Ali Abu Sedira is a chemical engineer who has dedicated his career to environmental conservation and development. His expertise includes: integrated environmental management; technical support and environmental consultancy for industrial establishments; management of environmental monitoring, industrial inspection, environmental impact assessment studies, and occupational health and safety; preparation of environmental profile studies and action plans at a regional level; and reviewing of environmental studies for industrial projects.
Dr. Abu Sedira has served in leadership positions in the public and private sectors. He was General Secretary, Under Secretary, Deputy CEO, and head of Regional Branches Affairs of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA), held several specialized management positions at the Sakr Factory for Developed Industries, and served as Manager of the Arab Institute for Aerospace Technology. He has served as board member of the EEAA, Environmental Protection Fund, and Cairo University’s Research and Environmental Studies and Environmental Risks Reduction centers. Dr. Abu Sedira has also been a member of numerous committees for projects on water and environmental management.
During his time at the EEAA, Dr. Abu Sedira helped establish nine regional branch offices to serve the neediest villages in Egypt. He supervised the preparation of environmental profiles for 21 governorates and environmental action plans for 15 governorates. He also participated in a project to develop 1,000 of the neediest Egyptian villages, implemented a pilot project and prepared a study to upgrade the Abu Rawash waste-water treatment plant, and drove another pilot project to prepare a study of biological treatment for the Al-Rhawyi drainage canal to reduce pollution of the Rosetta branch of the Nile. Dr. Abu Sedira also supervised projects to develop access to protected areas, such as the establishment of five environmental centers in St. Catherine, scientific and visitor centers in Burrullus, Digla Valley, and Al-Qusair, and he helped create the Cultural Education Center for Environmental Conservation. He also was a representative speaker in numerous local, regional, and international conferences and workshops. These included the first international Natural Resources and Sustainable Development conference, Future Prospects for Environmental Development in the Arab World, Second General Conference of the Federation of Trade Unions of Workers in Agriculture, Fishing and Activities Associated with the Nile River Basin Countries, Modern Technology to Reduce and Control Environmental Pollution (UNIDO), and the first African regional conference for the implementation of the strategic approach to the international management of hazardous materials.
In May 2013, Dr. Abu Sedira received a patent from the Egyptian Scientific Research Academy for a new method of sewage water treatment using natural raw materials.
Dr. Abu Sedira received his PhD and Masters degrees in Chemical Engineering from Cairo University, Egypt.
Steven R. Ditmeyer
Mr. Ditmeyer has been serving as adjunct professor with the Michigan State University’s Railway Management Program (MSU RMP) from 2007 to 2014. Prior to that, he served as Associate Professor of Economics and US Department of Transportation Faculty Chair at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University (NDU) from 2003 to 2007.
Mr. Ditmeyer’s career has been in a number of transportation-related positions in the public and private sectors. Early in his career he held staff positions with the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, New York Central Railroad, Erie-Lackawanna Railroad, Missouri Pacific Railroad, and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). He was General Manager of The Alaska Railroad, 1979-1980; Chief Engineer – Research, Communications, and Control Systems at Burlington Northern Railroad (BNRR), 1981-1993; and Vice President – Marketing at the Locomotive Division of Morrison Knudsen Corporation, 1993-1995. At the FRA, he held management positions as the Associate Administrator for Policy, 1977-1979, and the Associate Administrator for Research and Development, 1980-1981 and 1995-2003.
Mr. Ditmeyer’s international experience in the field of railway transport management spans several countries in the Middle East and North Africa, East Asia, Central Asia and Europe. In 1974-77, he served as a transportation economist in the Railways, Ports, and Pipelines Division for the Europe, Mid-East, and North Africa Region at the World Bank, managing loans for infrastructure and rolling stock rehabilitation projects on railways in Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, Spain, and Portugal, as well as port and pipeline projects in Tunisia and Algeria. While at the FRA, he headed a mission in 1980 on behalf of the US-Saudi Joint Economic Commission to establish an FRA technical assistance team to advise the Saudi Government Railroad Organization on railroad investment priorities. In 1991 and 1992, he managed BNRR’s consulting activities for the US Agency for International Development (USAID), evaluating USAID assistance projects for railroads in Swaziland, Malawi, and Mozambique. During that time, he also collaborated on natural gas-fueled locomotives with the All-Soviet Railway Research Institute in Shcherbinka, near Moscow, and at the Luhanskteplovoz Locomotive Works in Luhansk, Ukraine.
With the MSU RMP, Mr. Ditmeyer provided assistance to the Kazakhstan Railway on establishing its railway management program (2011 and 2012). He also set up a weeklong symposium for the Argentina Railways in Washington, DC, in December 2013, on the subject of the relationship of the US freight and passenger railways with the various agencies of the US government.
Mr. Ditmeyer also lectured outside the United States. While at BNRR and FRA, he lectured on Positive Train Control (PTC) systems at the China Academy of Railway Sciences in Beijing (1988) and at the All-Russian Railway Research Institute in Shcherbinka, near Moscow (2000). He also served as adjunct lecturer with the International Railway Strategic Management Institute, in Paris (2007 and 2012), Vadodara, India (2009), and Lyon, France (2013). In addition, while at NDU he coauthored in 2007 a case study about the financial turnaround of the Indian Railways at the request of the Minister of Railways. He also co-authored “The Railway of Opportunity: Afghanistan National Railway Plan” for the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in 2013.
Mr. Ditmeyer received his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1963, and The Certificate in Transportation and Master of Arts degree in Economics from Yale University in 1965.