Ambassador to Estonia: Who Is Jeffrey Levine?

Saturday, March 31, 2012
Estonia, a former Soviet republic and now a staunch U.S. ally, will soon get a new ambassador from the U.S. who is a specialist on post-Soviet countries. President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate diplomat Jeffrey D. Levine to be next ambassador to Estonia on February 16, 2012.
 
Born circa 1954 and raised in California, as a teenager Jeffrey Levine was a fan of the band Jefferson Airplane and the movie Blazing Saddles. Levine earned a B.A. in Journalism at Humboldt State University in 1976. Much later he would add an M.S. in Resource Strategy at the National Defense University in 1999.
 
Levine worked as a newspaper reporter for seven years, most notably as a founding staff member at USA Today from 1982 to 1985, after which he moved on to the State Department.
 
A career member of the Senior Foreign Service since 1985, Levine’s first foreign postings were as consular/political officer at the embassy in Lima, Peru, from 1985 to 1987, as consular/general services officer at the embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 1988 to 1990, and at the consulate in Alexandria, Egypt, from 1990 to 1991.
 
He then took three straight stateside appointments in Washington, DC, serving as watch officer in the State Operations Center from 1992 to 1993; as Hungary desk officer in the Office of Eastern European Affairs from 1993 to 1994; and as special assistant in the Office of the Under Secretary for Management from 1994 to 1995.
 
Four overseas postings followed, starting with service as management officer at the embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus, from 1995 to 1998, and as management counselor in Brasilia, Brazil, from 1999 to 2002. He then served as deputy chief of mission in Sofia, Bulgaria, from August 2003 to August 2006. Taking advantage of his expertise regarding Hungary, Levine served at the embassy in Budapest, first as deputy chief of mission from July 2007 to March 2009, and as chargé d’affaires ad interim from April 2009 to August 2010. Back home, he served as director of the State Department Office of Recruitment, Examination and Employment, starting in September 2010. 
 
Levine and his wife, Janie, have one son, Nick. When asked for his personal motto in a 2009 interview in Hungary, Levine quoted American songwriter Jason Mraz: “Leap, and the net will appear.”
-Matt Bewig
 

Chargé Jeffrey D. Levine’s Remarks at the [Budapest] Gay Pride Festival Opening 

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