Ambassador from Malta: Who Is Joseph Cole?
The small (population: 419,000) Mediterranean island-nation of Malta named a new ambassador to the U.S. as of July 30. Joseph Cole is a career Maltese diplomat who played a crucial role during the crisis in nearby Libya as the chief of the Maltese government agency responsible for international economic sanctions.
Born September 30 1955, Cole earned a degree at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology circa 1973.
He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 14, 1977. He served as consul general for Malta in Sydney, Australia, from 1983 to 1985, and was part of a presidential trade delegation that visited Australia and Singapore in 1986. He left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as of July 8, 1987, joining the Maltese Post Office the following day, although he moved on to the Inland Revenue Department just five months later, serving there from December 3, 1987 to June 1, 1997. Cole then served seven months at the Ministry of Finance & Commerce, from June 2, 1997 to January 22, 1998, when he returned to the Maltese Foreign Ministry, where he remains today.
Upon his return to the Foreign Ministry, Cole was appointed as deputy high commissioner at the Malta High Commission in London, UK, where he served from 1998 to 2001. For the next several years, Cole represented Malta at various international forums. In 2002, he served as Malta’s representative at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August and September, also attending international preparatory conferences for the summit held in Singapore and in Bali, Indonesia. Cole ended his year by accompanying the permanent secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry on an official delegation to China in November.
From 2003 to 2006, Cole represented Malta at various European Union (EU) conferences, including the EU General Affairs Council, the Foreign Affairs Council, and the EU Working Groups on the Law of the Sea, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe & the Council of Europe, and Human Rights. He also attended Director Generals’ Development Meetings. In January 2004, Cole served as head of Malta’s delegation attending the Inter-Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Ten Year Review of the Barbados Program of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island States held in The Bahamas. In June, he was head of Malta’s delegation at the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation Asian/Mediterranean Regional Consultative Meeting held in Sri Lanka.
In April 2006, Cole was named vice-chairman of Malta’s National UNESCO Commission, concurrently serving as the Foreign Ministry’s director of Global Issues until March 31, 2009. In July 2009, Cole became director general for European and Economic Affairs, as well as chairman of the Malta Sanctions Monitoring Board, which is responsible for Malta’s participation in international economic sanctions against countries like Iran. He served in both capacities from July 1, 2009 to July 12, 2012. During part of that time, he was also a member of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development, from September 2009 to August 2010.
Cole was raised to the rank of ambassador, resident in Malta, effective October 25, 2011.
He is married to Bernadette (Bunce) Cole, and the couple has one daughter, Christine.
Interview with H.E. Ambassador Joseph Cole, Maltese Ambassador to the USA (Stars & Stripes Malta)
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