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Design Diplomat
Glenn Warren
Don Mosier | Rimini Road

I recently interviewed Glenn Warren, a member of our Design Review Board since February 2018, about his career and his appreciation for the Del Mar lifestyle. Glenn grew up in Point Loma and began living in Del Mar in 1983. He practiced criminal and civil trial law from 1974 until 1996 when his wanderlust led him to abandon law and join the Foreign Service. Accompanied by his wife, Randee, and son, Scott, who attended international schools, he had postings in Latin America, Africa, and Afghanistan, before retiring in 2012 and returning to Del Mar. His work as a Foreign Service political officer led to some interesting experiences; here is one in his own words.

“In 1998, the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania were bombed by terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden. Since Sudan had sheltered him from 1991-1996, the U.S. government held Sudan partially responsible and, immediately after the bombings, we withdrew all American personnel from our embassy there. In 2000, we began to explore cooperation with Sudan in combatting terrorism; this included a gradual reopening of our embassy. Based in Nairobi, I traveled to Khartoum for periods of up to three weeks. One of four Foreign Service officers working part-time in Khartoum, my job was to interact with government officials and get to know opposition and civil society leaders. In December 2000, Susan Rice, the Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, traveled to southern Sudan, which was not yet independent and was engaged in a war of independence against Sudan.

The Sudanese government supported militias that would kidnap women and children in the South, bring them to the North, and treat them as slaves. Rice met with some released and escaped “slaves” in southern Sudan, and then, in a press conference in Nairobi, torched the Sudan government for its activities. Several days later, I met with eight Sudanese leaders of the opposition in Khartoum. About an hour into the meeting, six men, dressed in leisure suits and sporting dark sunglasses--they looked like they were out of central casting-- burst through the door and demanded identification. I gave them my embassy business card and, because of my diplomatic immunity, was allowed to leave. The opposition leaders were all detained and wound up spending about six months in jail. The next morning, the Khartoum newspapers had front page stories, some with photos of my business card, alleging that I had conspired with my interlocutors to overthrow the government. The following day, in apparent retaliation for Susan Rice’s scolding remarks, the Sudan government delivered a diplomatic note to our embassy declaring me persona non grata and giving me 72 hours to leave the country.”

Glenn and Randee live on 27th Street and enjoy the beach community even more so after the adjoining property was converted from a short-term rental to a full-time residence. Glenn views his position on the DRB as an opportunity to get to know Del Mar and its residents and to contribute to the community. He observes that the now-required meetings with applicants and neighbors before the formal DRB hearings and the new Design Guidelines have removed some of the uncertainty from the process. The result is less contentious meetings and fewer issues for the DRB to address. Much less adventure here in Del Mar than East Africa two decades ago.


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