Ambassador to Kuwait: Who Is Douglas Silliman?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

On December 12, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Douglas A. Silliman, a career Foreign Service officer, to be ambassador to Kuwait. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on February 13, 2014, to consider the nomination.


Silliman, 53, is from Texas, earning a B.A. in political science from Baylor University. He later earned an M.A. in International Relations from The George Washington University. His master’s thesis was titled “The Soviet Urban Housing Shortage: Growing Demand, Stagnant Supply.”


Silliman began his career with the State Department in 1984 serving as a visa officer in Haiti and a political officer in Tunisia.


He continued to work his way up the State Department ladder, serving in Washington as staff assistant to the assistant secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, as Lebanon Desk officer and in the Office of Soviet Union Affairs. He was in Pakistan as a political officer. He was then named regional officer for the Middle East in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. From 2000 to 2004, he was political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Jordan and returned to Washington as director and deputy director of the State Department’s Office of Southern European Affairs, a post he held until 2007.


Starting in July 2008, he was deputy chief of mission in Ankara, Turkey, and in 2010 he was charge d’affaires for the embassy there. During his time Turkey, Silliman and his wife Catherine appeared on Turkish television, showing viewers what went into an American Thanksgiving dinner.


In July 2011, moved on to Baghdad as councilor for political affairs. He was named deputy chief of mission and charge d’affaires in 2012, a post he held until his nomination as ambassador to Kuwait.


Silliman and his wife, Catharine, have two sons, Zachary and Benjamin. He speaks Turkish, Arabic and French.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Official Biography

Testimony Before Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf)


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