On June 25, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate James Knight to be Ambassador to the Republic of Benin. The WH released the following official bio:
James Knight, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, is Director of the State Department’s Office of East African Affairs, which provides political and economic policy support and liaison for Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda. Mr. Knight was previously Team Leader of the Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), based in Mosul, Iraq. Before Iraq, Mr. Knight was Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) for the U.S. Mission to Angola. Previous assignments include DCM for Embassy Praia, Cape Verde; Country Affairs Officer for Ethiopia in the Office of East African Affairs; Political Officer for Embassy Antananarivo, Madagascar; Political, Economic, and Consular Officer for Embassy Banjul, the Gambia; and General Services Officer at Embassy Lagos, Nigeria.
Before the Foreign Service he worked as an economic development specialist for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Niger and as a software developer for the private sector. Mr. Knight holds a PhD from the University of Chicago.
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If confirmed, Mr. Knight would replace career diplomat, Gayleatha B. Brown who was appointed US Ambassador to Benin in 2006.