Stephen M. Schwartz serves as a foreign policy and diplomacy expert at U.S. military training events and as guest speaker on Somalia and international relations at academic and other venues.
Stephen Schwartz’s 31-years of federal government service culminated with his assignment in 2016 as the first U.S. ambassador to Somalia since 1991. He retired in 2017 as a member of the Senior Foreign Service and the rank of Minister Counsellor.
As ambassador, Mr. Schwartz established a continuous U.S. diplomatic presence in Somalia. He co-led with the Minister of Defense the initial phase of a multinational effort to rebuild the Somali national army. Mr. Schwartz persuaded two Somali presidents to accept Somali citizens the United States planned to deport. He led the U.S. effort to strengthen Somalia’s 2016-17 electoral process which resulted in the peaceful transfer of power to a then highly regarded pro-American president. To engage the American public in foreign policy, Ambassador Schwartz conducted extensive outreach to Somali diaspora communities and local officials throughout the United States.
During his Foreign Service career, Mr. Schwartz served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Zambia and in Mauritius, and mid-level or junior officer in Ethiopia, South Africa, Burundi, and Cuba. In Washington, he served as Director for the Office of West African Affairs, Director and Deputy Director for the Office of Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Island Affairs, Desk Officer for Sudan, and Special Assistant for African and Western Hemisphere Affairs to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs.
Before joining the Foreign Service in 1992, Mr. Schwartz served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon and worked at Peace Corps headquarters. He also worked in the Africa Program at the Brookings Institution and at the Citizens Democracy Corps, a non-governmental organization established to assist the people of Central and Eastern Europe.
Mr. Schwartz earned master’s degrees in National Security Studies from the National War College and in African Studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is a native of Buffalo, New York, and resides in Takoma Park, Maryland.