Speaker

Ray S. Leki
senior executive service
Department of State; Foreign Service Institute
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Ray S. Leki is a career member of the Senior Executive Service of the United States government at the Department of State, Foreign Service Institute. He is also an adjunct professor of intercultural management with the rank of Senior Interculturist in Residence at American University, and an author. At the Foreign Service Institute, he is the director of the Transition Center, where he oversees preparation and support for employees and family members entering, transitioning within, and leaving the U.S. foreign affairs community. He has developed, designed, and overseen the implementation of international awareness training for the U.S. foreign affairs community for nearly 40 years. His work in government began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal in 1979, and continued with a series of Peace Corps staff assignments in Washington, Nepal, Pakistan, and Poland, before joining the Department of State in 1991.

Ray has taught a range of graduate courses and seminars through American University’s School of International Service, Intercultural Management Institute. They include international personal and organizational security, crisis management and communication, intercultural facilitation and training, multicultural negotiation, and spirituality and conflict transformation. He is a recipient of the school’s adjunct faculty of the year award.  

Ray published Travel Wise: How to Be Safe, Savvy and Secure Abroad through Intercultural Press/Nicholas Brealey Publishing in 2008. The book shares his thoughts, experiences, and techniques in preparing sojourners for international success through integrating cross-cultural competence, emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills, and security awareness with careful identification and analysis of motives and motivation. Travel Wise is used by businesses, study abroad programs, international and non-governmental organizations and government employees and agencies to protect people and ensure mission success.

At the U.S. Department of State, he has been a leader in dealing with far-flung diplomatic communities experiencing crisis and trauma. Recent interventions included work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Algeria, Moscow, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He has focused his organizational efforts on creating smarter, more resilient, and more effective expatriates. In 2016, he opened the Center of Excellence in Foreign Affairs Resilience as a new division within the Transition Center.

He is a fellow of the International Academy of Intercultural Researchers, and is on the advisory boards of the Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research USA, the Foreign Service Youth Foundation, and the International Association of Protocol Consultants. Current interests include resilience, leadership, intercultural communication, crisis management across cultures, and crisis aftermath psychology. He studied chemistry at Southern Illinois University and has his master’s from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia.