On May 24, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Alexander M. Laskaris as the next Ambassador to the Republic of Guinea. The WH released the following brief bio:
Alexander M. Laskaris, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, is Consul General at the U.S. Consulate in Erbil, Iraq, a position he has held since June 2010. Previously, he was the Team Leader for the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Mosul, Iraq from 2008 to 2009. Prior to serving in Iraq, he was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo (2006-2009) and Burundi (2003-2005). Previously, Mr. Laskaris was a member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff (2001-2003) and Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (1999-2001). Other overseas assignments have included Political Officer in Luanda, Angola; Political and Economic Officer in Gaborone, Botswana; and Vice Consul in Monrovia, Liberia. From 1996 to 1997, he served as Desk Officer for Rwanda and Burundi at the Department of State.
He received a B.S. from Georgetown University and an M.A. from the U.S. Army War College.
In addition to Kurdish, Mr. Laskaris speaks Albanian, Greek, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. He was born in Monterey, California and lives in Takoma Park, Maryland. If confirmed, Mr. Laskaris would succeed career diplomat Patricia Newton Moller who was appointed chief of mission to Conakry in 2009.
We have often been struck by the prior assignments of some our diplomats nominated for ambassadorial posts. Some have been able to skirt the war zone posts, or able to get stuck in Foggy Bottom longer than most or move through inter-agency assignments within the beltway. Mr. Laskaris on the other hand is on his second tour in Iraq, his third year in that war torn country. His list of previous assignments is a run down of places high on hardship and low on cushy-factor. Conakry will not be altogether different from his prior assignments; post is a 55% differential post (25% COLA + 30% hardship).
- Erbil today held a consultative meeting between the coalition and Iraqi Kurdistan to discuss the crisis in the country (thecurrencynewshound.com)
- Guinea Election Reform Protests Spark Clashes (voanews.com)
- Police break-up women’s protest in Guinea, some 20 injured (rawstory.com)
- Tony Blair expands his African empire into mineral-rich Guinea (telegraph.co.uk)