Ambassador from Cyprus: Who is Georgios Chacalli?
Cyprus has sent a veteran to represent that nation to the United States. Georgios (George) Chacalli, a career member of that country’s foreign service, presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on July 18, 2013.
At the top of his list when Chacalli spoke to Obama was the ongoing political division of his island nation. Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and took control of the part of the island where most of those of Turkish descent live. Only Turkey recognizes the sovereignty of that area. The majority of the island is populated by Cypriots of Greek extraction.
Chacalli was born in 1960. He earned a degree in economics from Belgium’s Université Catholique de Louvain in 1982. He then went to England, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Law from the University of Kent in 1985 and an M.A. in International Relations the following year. In 1987, he earned his Master of Laws degree from Cambridge.
Chacalli started in Cyprus’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1989 as an attaché, serving in that role until 1991. He then returned to England as first secretary for Political and Commonwealth Affairs for the Cyprus High Commission in London. In 1996 he returned to Cyprus to take a post in political affairs in the ministry’s Middle East Desk.
He had his first posting to the United States in 1997, when he was named counselor in the Cypriot embassy in Washington. He later was named deputy chief of mission. In 2001, he returned to Cyprus to work in the European Union Affairs division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Chacalli’s first ambassadorial posting was in 2004 to Hungary. That posting was followed in 2006 by being named ambassador to the European Union, a post he held until 2010. Then, he was sent to Stockholm as ambassador to Sweden, with additional responsibilities of Norway and Latvia. He held that post until returning to Washington as ambassador. He is also serving as Cyprus’ high commissioner to Canada.
As might be expected of someone who has studied in England and Belgium, Chacalli is fluent in English and French, and of course Greek. He also speaks German and Spanish and has worked as a freelance translator.
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