Ambassador Rozanne L. Ridgway served over three decades as an American foreign policy leader. Her expertise as an international negotiator was demonstrated in complex multilateral and bilateral agreements that she negotiated on behalf of the U.S.
In the early 1970s, Ridgway skillfully negotiated longstanding issues over fishing rights in Brazil, Peru and the Bahamas. This led to her appointment in 1976 as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and Fisheries. During her tenure, she negotiated the 200-mile fishing rights treaty. Ridgway’s subsequent negotiations led to the return of property of U.S. citizens from Czechoslovakia, an arrangement that will provide the basis for similar negotiations with Cuba when relations are normalized. Her success dealing with these issues — a complicated mix of domestic politics, economics, foreign policy and international security issues — prepared her for substantial contribution at the highest level of our government.
As Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Negotiations and, subsequently, the Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Canada, she was the lead negotiator at all five Reagan/Gorbachev summits. These brought the first substantive reductions in nuclear weapons, signaled the beginning of the end of Communism and the Cold War, and established the fundamental realignment of global power as America prepared to enter the 21st century.
Between Ridgway’s positions at the Department of State, she served as America’s Ambassador to Finland from 1977 to 1980 and as the Ambassador to the German Democratic Republic between 1983 and 1985. She retired as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs and sits on corporate boards.