Ambassador to Serbia: Who Is Mary Burce Warlick?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The current U.S. ambassador to Serbia enjoys an unusually close relationship to the U.S. ambassador to neighboring Bulgaria, not because of any quesstionable dealings, but because the two diplomats in question are married to one another. Mary Burce Warlick, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was confirmed by the Senate as the nation’s ambassador in Belgrade on December 24, 2009, the same day her husband, James B. Warlick, was confirmed to be the ambassador to Bulgaria. The couple are the Obama Administration’s first tandem ambassadors, although there is one holdover couple from the Bush administration, Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Richard Olson and his wife, Deborah Jones, who is the ambassador to Kuwait.

 
Relations between the United States and Serbia, often tense and even hostile during the 1990s, are steadily improving, helped along by Warlick, who has emphasized that the two countries can agree to disagree on such issues as independence for Kosovo while working together to ease Serbia’s entry into the European Union
 
Warlick was born in 1956 in Papua New Guinea, where her parents, Willard and Elinor, worked for many years as Lutheran missionaries.  She attended high school in Adelaide, South Australia, earned a B.A. in Political Science and Humanities from Valparaiso University in 1979, and a Master’s degree in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1982.  
 
A member of the Senior Foreign Service, Warlick joined the State Department in 1983. Her overseas assignments have included stints in Manila, Philippines, where she served twice, first as a Consular Officer from 1983 to 1985, and later as an Economic Officer from 1988 to 1990.   Between her two Manila assignments, she also served as Staff Assistant to the Director of the Foreign Service Institute from 1985to 1986, and as an Economic Officer in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 1986 to 1988. Returning stateside, Warlick served as Economic Officer in the Office of Textile Negotiations from 1990 to 1992 and as Senior Watch Officer in the State Department’s Operations Center from 1992 to 1994. Taking on her first European assignment, Warlick was Economic Officer and Global Affairs Counselor in Bonn, Germany, from 1994 to 1998, and followed that up with further work regarding Europe as Director of the Office of Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus Affairs from 1998 to 2000.
 
She then spent eight years in several positions dealing with Russia, beginning as Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia, from August 2001 to July 2004.  During her Moscow assignment, Warlick traveled extensively in Russia and worked actively on a wide range of trade, investment and energy issues, including Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization and the protection of intellectual property rights.  From 2004 to 2007, Warlick was Director of the Office of Russian Affairs at the State Department, and then brought her expertise regarding Russia to the National Security Council (NSC), where she served as Special Assistant to the President George W. Bush and Senior Director for Russia from August 2007 to 2008. Leaving the NSC, Warlick went to the Department of Defense, where she was Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Policy until May 2009.
 
Warlick speaks Russian and German.  Warlick and her husband have three children–Jamie, Jason, and Jordan. 
-Matt Bewig
 
Serbia to Move Forward in Relations with Kosovo (interview by T. Spaić, Blic Online)
Serbia (AllGov)

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