Ambassador Lemmon served as a career Foreign Service Officer for 34 years with assignments in Moscow, Islamabad, Tunis, Rabat and as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia. He also held a number of senior positions in the Department of State, including four years as Dean of the School of Language Studies at the Foreign Service Institute where he led a dramatic expansion of basic and advanced Arabic language programs in Washington and Tunis and fostered collaborations with educational institutions across the Middle East. Following his retirement in 2008, he joined the Near East and South Asia Center at National Defense University and was named Director of the Regional Network of Strategic Studies Centers comprised of some 30 partner institutions across North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey and South Asia. More recently he returned to the Department of State to work on the Foreign Relations of the United States series of historical documents.
Ambassador Lemmon has been a strong advocate in government and the broader education sector for the expanded offering of foreign languages in their cultural contexts in K-16 education. He has been a particularly vigorous supporter of teaching Arabic at the Middle and High School level and assisted the introduction of a four year Arabic program at Saint Anselm’s Abbey School in Washington, D.C., where he also team teaches a Senior Honors Course on the Middle East. He has served on a number of foreign language task forces over the years and is a Board Member of the non-profit Language Partnership Group.