The United States is heavily populated with a vibrant Lebanese-American community that excels in multiple disciplines and across almost every field. Whether in the areas of Politics, Business, Media, Academia, Chemistry, Medicine, and even Polling, the Lebanese community in the U.S. not only makes their host country proud but Lebanon as well for the resilience of its people abroad and their ability to integrate peacefully, contribute and shine.
Currently serving as the US Ambassador to Saudi Arabian, Lebanese-American General John Abizaid was born (1951) and raised in California. His Lebanese grandparents migrated to California from Lebanon during the late 19th century. His father, also a public servant, was a Navy machinist in World War II, and heavily influenced his son's career choices and guided him through a profession in public service.
Abizaid's military education includes the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point in New York (Class of 1973); Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced courses, Armed Forces Staff College, and a U.S. Army War College Senior Fellowship at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
Outside of his military education, Abizeid took interest in Middle Eastern Studies, earning his Master's degree in the discipline from Harvard University, and serving as an Olmsted Scholar at the University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan throughout his education.
His exceptionally impressive paper on defense policy for Saudi Arabia is famous for being the only paper of a master's student that the director of the Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies has ever kept.
Abizaid has come a long way since he was commissioned a Second lieutenant of Infantry upon graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1973. He started his career with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where he served as a rifle and scout platoon leader.
Throughout his career, his staff assignments have included a brief stint in Lebanon, serving during a tour with the United Nations as Operations Officer for Observer Group Lebanon, as well as a tour in the Office of the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.
Currently, Abizaid is at 49 years of service. As of 2007, he has served as a Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
He was also appointed to the Board of Directors of RPM International on January 24, 2008, and also sits on the board of directors of the Defense Ventures Group.
More recently, in 2016, Abizaid was appointed Advisor to Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. In 2018, he was nominated as the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and was confirmed and sworn in by the United States Senate as Ambassador in April 2019.
Abizaid's international accolades include Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia, as well as the German Gold Cross of Honour of the Bundeswehr.