Over the course of three decades Ambassador Michael Ranneberger served in senior leadership positions in the Department of State. Drawing on his extensive experience, he teaches courses in international human rights and Africa in world affairs.
From 2011-16 he served as the State Department’s Senior Policy Adviser to Generals Mattis, Austin, and Votel at the U.S. Central Command, which has responsibility for North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
During his five years as Ambassador to Kenya from 2006-11, he substantially strengthened ties between the United States and Kenya, which included expanded cooperation against the shared threats of terrorism and extremism, and collaboration to promote regional stability. Ambassador Ranneberger employed robust public diplomacy to support civil society, to combat corruption, and to protect human rights. He crafted and led implementation of a major initiative to empower youth. Working closely with the African Union’s envoy, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, he was instrumental in negotiating resolution of the post- election crisis in 2008 and bringing about adoption of a new constitution in order to implement fundamental reforms. While Ambassador to Kenya he won the State Department’s Anti- Slavery Ambassador of the Year Award for his efforts to combat human trafficking.
While in Kenya, he served concurrently as Ambassador to Somalia, and played a key role in supporting the Transitional Federal Government. Ambassador Ranneberger was a lead negotiator of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement. He previously served as Ambassador to Mali, as Coordinator for Cuban Affairs, and as the Deputy Chief of Mission at embassies in Latin America and Africa.
Ambassador Ranneberger is the recipient of the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, its highest, as well as numerous other awards, including multiple Presidential Meritorious Service Awards, and an honorary doctorate from Africa Nazarene University.
He received his B.A. from Towson University, with majors in history and social science. He earned his Master’s Degree in American and European history at the University of Virginia.