Executive Secretariat’s Howard A. Van Vranken to be U.S. Ambassador to Botswana



President Biden announced his intent to nominate career diplomat Howard A. Van Vranken to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Botswana. The WH released the following brief bio:

Howard A. Van Vranken, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Republic of Botswana

Howard A. Van Vranken, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as Executive Director and Deputy Executive Secretary for the Executive Secretariat at the U.S. Department of State. Previously, he was Executive Director and Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs and Deputy Executive Director in the Executive Office for the Bureaus of Near Eastern Affairs and South and Central Asian Affairs. Earlier, Van Vranken was Management Counselor and, prior to that, the Deputy Political Counselor, for U.S. Embassy Baghdad.  Van Vranken served in Israel as Management Officer and later as Acting Political Counselor in Jerusalem and as the Human Resource Officer at the Embassy in Tel Aviv. He was also the leader of a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Babil Province, Iraq. Van Vranken earned his B.A. degree from the University of California, Davis and his M.A. from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. He speaks Arabic, Farsi, and Norwegian.  He is the recipient of as the Presidential Distinguished Service Award.

If confirmed, Mr. Van Vranken would succeed Ambassador Craig Cloud who has been chief of mission at US Embassy Gaborone since April 2019. According to AFSA, of the 17 ambassadors appointed to Botswana since 1960, only 4 or 23.5% were non-career appointees.