Ambassador to Namibia: Who Is Thomas Daughton?

Saturday, November 02, 2013

The southwest African nation of Namibia will soon have a new ambassador from the U.S. Nominated July 30, career Foreign Service Officer Thomas F. Daughton had been senior advisor for Security Negotiations and Agreements in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs of the State Department since July 2011. If confirmed by the Senate as expected, Daughton would succeed Wanda Nesbitt, who has served in Windhoek since November 2010.

 

Born in Arizona circa 1961, Daughton earned a B.A. at Amherst College in 1983 and a J.D. at the University of Virginia Law School in 1989. After graduating law school, Daughton was an associate at the New York office of the Chicago-based law firm Sidley & Austin.

 

Joining the Foreign Service in 1989, Daughton served early career foreign postings as vice consul at the embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, from 1989 to 1991, and as political officer at the embassy in Rabat, Morocco, from 1991 to 1993. 

 

Returning to State Department Headquarters in Washington, Daughton served as a staff assistant in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs from 1993 to 1994 and as desk officer for the Philippines in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 1994 to 1996.

 

Daughton was political and administrative Officer at the Consulate General in Thessaloniki, Greece, from 1997 to 2000, and served as deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires ad interim (2001-2002) in Libreville, Gabon, from 2000 to 2003.

 

After serving as counselor for political affairs at the embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 2003 to 2006, Daughton served as deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Algiers, Algeria, from 2006 to 2009, where he got involved in a minor kerfuffle over a travel book about author Michael Mewshaw’s 4,000-mile trek across North Africa, including a visit to the U.S. embassy and a chat with Daughton. According to the book, Daughton was unusually—and undiplomatically—frank with Mewshaw, stating for example that Algeria’s “government is sclerotic and self-serving.” The State Department disavowed the quotes, arguing that they were inaccurate and that the conversation was intended to be off the record—which Mewshaw denies.

 

From 2009 to 2011, Daughton served as deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.

 

Daughton speaks French and Greek. He is married to Melinda Burrell.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Between Terror and Tourism: An Overland Journey Across North Africa (by Michael Mewshaw)

U.S. Takes Issue with Author’s Account of Visit at Embassy in Algiers (by Steven Levingston, Washington Post

Statement Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf)

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