Biden appoints first list of ambassadors

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President BidenJoe BidenHouse panel approves bill to create reparations commission Democrats must propose bill to expand Supreme Court Former Israeli prime minister advises Iran to “calm down” to threats nuclear LEARN MORE Thursday, announced more than a dozen applications for high-level State Department positions and its first list of foreign ambassador, elevating a significant number of foreign service officers to high-level positions.
Nominations signal effort by President and Secretary of State Antony BlinkAntony BlinkenDefense Overnight: Biden Formally Deploys Afghanistan Withdrawal Plan | Probe discovers problems with use of DC Guard helicopters during June protests NATO to meet US timetable to withdraw troops from Afghanistan Indirect talks with Iran over nuclear deal set to resume on Thursday READ MORE rebuilding trust with State Department staff by promoting career leaders and experts in their areas of foreign policy who were often sidelined under the former Trump administration.

The announcement concerns seven high-level State Department posts and nine ambassadorial posts in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The majority of applicants are career foreign service officers with extensive experience in their designated areas.

The nominees also include a significant number of women and people of color, who are also part of the Biden administration’s efforts to increase diversity among senior executives and diplomats.

This includes Karen Erika Donfried, president of the German Marshall Fund, a leading think tank on transatlantic policy, who will be Deputy Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Donfried also served as President and Senior Director of European Affairs on the National Security Council during the Obama administration.

The President also appointed Barbara Leaf as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Leaf is currently the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Middle East and North Africa Affairs at the National Security Council.

Mary Catherine Phee is appointed Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and a member of the board of directors of the African Development Foundation. Phee is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service who is currently the Senior Deputy Special Representative for Reconciliation in Afghanistan. She served as U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan between 2015 and 2017.

Other nominees include Michele Jeanne Sison for Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs; Anne A. Witkowsky for Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations and Reconstruction and Stabilization Coordinator; Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat for the Director General of Foreign Service and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Foreign Service; and Gentry O. Smith for Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security.

For the ambassadors, the president appointed:

  • Larry Edward André, Jr. – in the Federal Republic of Somalia
  • Elizabeth Moore Aubin – in the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
  • Steven C. Bondy – in the Kingdom of Bahrain
  • Maria E. Brewer – in the Kingdom of Lesotho
  • Marc Evans Knapper – to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
  • Christopher John Lamora – in the Republic of Cameroon
  • Tulinabo S. Mushingi – in the Republic of Angola and in the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe
  • Michael Raynor – in the Republic of Senegal, and to serve simultaneously and without additional compensation as Ambassador to the Republic of Guinea-Bissau
  • Eugene S. Young – in the Republic of the Congo

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