Join us for a special program about Iraq: From Occupation to Partnership hosted by the World Affairs Council of San Antonio on May 5, 12 p.m.
With a celebrated array of panelists, this discussion will discuss the past, present, and future of Iraq.
Ambassador Luis Moreno
The U.S. Senate confirmed Luis G. Moreno, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, as Ambassador to Jamaica on November 20, 2014. Most recently, Ambassador Moreno served as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Madrid, Spain. From 2010 to 2011, he served as the Political-Military Minister Counselor and Force Strategic Engagement Cell Director in Baghdad, Iraq. From 2007 to 2010, Ambassador Moreno served as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Tel Aviv, Israel. From 2004 to 2007, he was the Consul General and Principal Officer in Monterrey, Mexico. Ambassador Moreno served as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Port-au-Prince, Haiti from 2001 to 2004. He was also the Mission’s point of contact with the Multi-National Peacekeeping Force. From 1997-2001, Ambassador Moreno served as the Narcotics Affairs Director in Bogota, Colombia. He was instrumental in planning and implementing Plan Colombia.
In 1995, Ambassador Moreno was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Panama as the Narcotics Director and Law Enforcement Coordinator. Shortly after his arrival he was detailed as the Kurdish Refugee Coordinator. He oversaw the U.S. government effort in moving Kurdish refugees to Guam and assisted them in their resettlement to the United States. In 1993, Ambassador Moreno was assigned to Port-au-Prince, Haiti as Refugee Coordinator. While in Haiti, he repatriated tens of thousands of Haitians, as well as directed three political asylum in-country processing centers. After the United Nations intervention in 1994, Ambassador Moreno became the Embassy’s first political-military officer. He was also the U.S. government’s primary advisor to the International Police Monitors.
Earlier in his career, Ambassador Moreno served as the Colombia Desk Officer for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement in Washington, DC; Deputy Director of the Narcotics Affairs Section in Lima, Peru; Staff Assistant in the Bureau of Latin American Affairs in Washington, DC; American Citizens Services Chief in Managua, Nicaragua; and Vice-Consul in Bogota, Colombia.
Ambassador Moreno has received 11 Senior Performance Awards, four Superior Honor Awards, three Meritorious Honor Awards, and the American Foreign Service Association William Rivkin Award for Creative Dissent. He won the Department of State’s James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence in Diplomacy in 2001. He received the Department of State’s Heroism Award in 2004. In 2012, he received a Presidential Meritorious Service Award for his achievements in 2010 as the Principal Officer in Monterrey, Mexico and the Deputy Chief of Mission in Tel Aviv, Israel. Ambassador Moreno received a B.A. from Fordham University and a M.A. from Kean College. He speaks Spanish, French, and some Haitian Creole.
Joanne Held Cummings is an Adjunct Professor at Baylor University, educating upper-level undergraduates about Middle East dynamics. She was was recently the Foreign Policy Advisor (POLAD) to the counter-ISIS coalition CJTF-OIR, based in Baghdad. She has served extensively in the Middle East, North Africa, and East Africa.
As the daughter of a diplomat, she was raised in Lebanon, lived in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, finished high school in Tehran, Iran, and graduated from university in Beirut, Lebanon before gaining an MA from the University of Texas at Austin. In the Department of State and in the private sector, she has worked in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jerusalem, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Ethiopia, and Micronesia as well as nine years in the private sector working regionally from Morocco through Pakistan. Ms. Cummings was Deputy Chief of Mission in the Federated States of Micronesia, Pol/Econ Section Chief, Refugee Coordinator, Economic Section Chief, POLAD (CJTF-OIR, JSOC, and MND-S), Political Officer, and Consular Officer. She speaks Arabic and French.
Major General Gerald Strickland
Major General Gerald (known as Gez) Strickland is a Deputy Commanding General of III Armored Corps in Fort Hood, Texas, a post he has held since May 2019. During his time with III Corps he has deployed to Iraq and Syria as the Deputy Commander (Strategy) of the Combined Joint Task Force on Operation Inherent Resolve.
Raised in Hong Kong, and educated in England, he joined the British Army’s Royal Gurkha Rifles before attending university. His initial period as an infantry officer saw him specialize in jungle warfare and air maneuver operations.
In his early career he deployed on operations to Northern Ireland during the troubles, to East Timor as part of the international force to oversee the withdrawal of Indonesian troops and the beginning of independence, and to Bosnia to oversee the implementation of the Dayton agreement. He was also involved in the generation of British forces for the first two years of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He has deployed twice to Afghanistan, as a battalion second-in-command in the air maneuver role, and as a battalion commander in a ground holding role, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. He then commanded the UK’s 4th Infantry Brigade (The Black Rats) during a period of NATO and EU commitments. This role also involved defense engagement in North Africa, and responsibility for the British Army in the North East of England.
He has held staff appointments in the British Army’s headquarters, looking after force generation and organizational structures. He has also been Military Assistant to CG Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (then based in Germany), and an Instructor at the British Joint Services Staff College. Most recently he was Head of Operations in the UK Ministry of Defense, with responsibility for shaping political direction, crisis management and issuing direction for the conduct of all UK military operations.
He was honored to be appointed as Colonel of the Royal Gurkha Rifles in February 2016, an additional role that he still holds, and which enables him to do something to repay a debt of gratitude to the fantastic soldiers from Nepal who serve the British Army with such distinction.
He enjoys cycling, swimming and kayaking – ever increasing distances, at ever decreasing speeds.