John Limbert is the Distinguished Professor of International Affairs at the U.S. Naval Academy, a position he has held since retiring from the United States Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor in 2006. Prior to his retirement, he last served as dean of the Foreign Service Institute’s School of Language Studies and, on temporary assignment, as Chief of Mission in Khartoum, Sudan.
As ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (2000-2003), Limbert was one of the first civilian officials to enter Baghdad in April 2003 with the Organization from Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance where he was responsible for cultural affairs including restoring the looted Iraqi Museum. He returned to Iraq in spring of 2004 to lead a team in support of the U.S. mission there.
Limbert first joined the Foreign Service in 1973. His overseas experience included tours in Algeria, Djibouti, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He taught political science at the U.S. Naval Academy (1981-1984), and he was a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs (1991-1992). In addition, he served as Director of Orientation at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute in Washington (1992-1994), Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Conakry, Guinea, (1994-1997) and Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism in the U.S. State Department in 2000. Limbert also served as President of the American Foreign Service Association from 2003 to 2005.
Born in Washington, D.C., Limbert graduated from the D.C. public schools and holds Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees, as well a Ph.D. in history and middle eastern studies from Harvard University. He taught in Iran as a Peace Corps volunteer and an English instructor at Shiraz University before joining the Foreign Service.