Global Council for Tolerance and Peace

Ambassador Sam Zakhem

Ambassador Sam Zakhem

2530 South Gray Court
Lakewood, Colorado 80227


Wife: Merilynn Gillis Zakhem – Artist and Mother
Children: John – Attorney, Jackson Kelly PLLC,
Charles – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army
James – Marketing Consultant

  • Honorary Doctor of Philosophy; American University of Lebanon, 2010
  • Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science; University of Colorado, 1970
  • Post-Graduate Studies in Economics; Wayne State University, 1963
  • MBA; University of Detroit, 1960
  • BA Economics; American University of Cairo, Egypt, 1957
  • Graduate Fellow; National Center for Constitutional Studies, Washington, D.C.
  • Graduate Fellow; Freeman Institute, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Advisory Board; Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA

US Government:

  • American Ambassador to Bahrain, 1986-89
  • White House Advisor, Peace Corps, 1985-86
  • American Bicentennial Ethnic Committee, 1976
  • Board of Directors; Small Business Administration, State of Colorado, 1973
  • Member; US Small Business Administration, 1972
  • Honorary Chaplain; United States Navy
  • Zakhem International, LLC, 1990 – Present
  • Vice-President for Middle East Operations; MedLink International, Inc. Denver, CO, 1995-01
  • Vice- President for Economic Affairs; Rocky Mountain Orthodontics Co., Denver, CO, 1976-86
  • Research Analyst; Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1973-74
  • Director; Center for International Students, University of Denver, 1972
  • Cost Analyst; Ford Motor Co., Detroit, MI, 1962-64
  • Colorado State Senate – One Term, 1978-82
  • Chairman; Business Affairs and Labor Committee
  • Vice-Chairman; Finance Committee
  • Member; Health, Environment, Institutions and Appropriations Committees
  • Colorado State House of Representatives – Two Terms, 1974-78
  • Chairman; House Finance Committee
  • Member; State Affairs, Local Government Committees
  • Teaching Assistant in Economics, 1962-63
  • Wayne State University
  • Economics, Business, Foreign Relations and Political Science, 1968-91
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Denver
  • Loretto Heights College
  • Metropolitan State College
Selected Honors and Awards:
  • American Legion – Americanism Award
  • Eagle Forum – God Family and Country Award
  • Freedom’s Foundation – George Washington Medal of Honor
  • Disabled American Veterans – Citizen of the Year Award
  • Chairman, Colorado Cares about POW/MIA
  • Denver Sertoma – Citizen of the Year Award
  • Amway Corporation – Free Enterprise Award
  • Peace Through Strength Award, American Security Council Foundation
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars – Colorado Man of the Year Award
  • US Marine Corps – Award for Patriotism and Loyalty
  • Boy Scouts of America – Community Service Award
  • University of Colorado – Leadership Award
  • H. Norman Schwarzkopf – Shield for Outstanding Support of American Forces in the Gulf
  • Ellis Island Medal of Honor
  • Chaplain, Associated Veterans of the State of Colorado
  • 2002 Distinguished Alumni Award, American University of Cairo
  • Chairman, Board of Advisors, US- India Chamber of Commerce, 2005-present
  • The Golden Cedar Award, American Lebanese Chamber of Commerce, 2010
  • Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International, 2010
  • Global Citizenship Award, People to People, Inc., 2010
Comments on Ambassador Zakhem’s Performance:

Senator Jesse Helms heralded Ambassador Zakhem as follows: “You have the courage of your convictions and the moral and spiritual principles to guide you in rendering distinguished service to our country. You stood up to America’s enemies in your courageous service as U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain. Not once have you compromised your willingness to fight to preserve the freedoms of the American people.”

Commenting on Ambassador Zakhem’s performance in Bahrain, Secretary of State Schultz said: “We do not know the caliber of Ambassadors we appoint to any country until there is a crisis. In a crisis, you represented America with dignity and honor. We are proud of what you have done.”

Assistant Secretary of State, for Near East Affairs, Richard Murphy characterized Ambassador Zakhem’s achievements as Ambassador to Bahrain in the substantive fields as “virtuoso.”

Senator Edward Kennedy wrote in January, 1988: “Our country is fortunate to have you in this important position at this important time.”

After finishing a visit to the Persian Gulf and Joint Task Force Middle East, Congressman Michael Oxley of Ohio wrote: “Sam, you are without a doubt a shining example of how a United States Ambassador should act and represent our country in a strategic part of the world. We are very fortunate to have you on our side.”

Writing after a trip to Bahrain, Congressman William Dickinson of Alabama said, “Your dedication and tireless effort on behalf of US-Bahraini relations are evident and has clearly been an important asset during the past year of increased US presence in the Gulf.”

General A.M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, after a visit to Bahrain, wrote, “Our nation is fortunate to have a statesman of your dedication and sensitivity representing us in an area which is so vital to US interests.”

General George Crist, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf’s predecessor as Commander-in-Chief, Central Command, noted: “You were in the midst of the fray at every moment. It is only with your perseverance, political skill, and close personal relations with the government that success was achieved.”

Admiral Phil Duffy of the US Navy Command, in charge of the naval facilities in the Gulf, labeled Ambassador Zakhem as a “pillar of strength and determination” and called him “America’s most patriotic representative in the Arabian Gulf Region.”

After a visit to Bahrain, in 1987, US Senator Dennis DeConcini, in a letter to the State Department, wrote, “Everyone in the Government I spoke with, attributed America’s great relations with Bahrain to one man, Ambassador Sam Zakhem.”

Professor Albert Blaustein of Rutgers University, in a letter to the State Department, wrote, “I have never seen such devotion and I have never seen a US Ambassador so loved by the host country . . . Sam can get America almost anything he asks for.”