Ambassador to Serbia: Who Is Michael Kirby?
Sunday, July 08, 2012
A career diplomat who has served mainly in Eastern Europe is President Obama’s nominee to be the next ambassador to Serbia, the Balkan nation with which the U.S. has had sometimes tense relations since the breakup of Yugoslavia began in the early 1990s. One of four children born to parents Richard N. and Dolores (Senkfor) Kirby, Michael David Kirby was born circa 1954. He was likely inspired to pursue a Foreign Service career by the example of his father, a Foreign Service officer who, among other postings, was consul general in Hong Kong in 1963.
Michael Kirby earned a B.A. in History at the University of Pennsylvania in 1976 and then studied at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. A career consular officer who joined the Foreign Service circa 1979, Kirby served early career assignments at the U.S. embassies in Copenhagen, Denmark; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and Georgetown, Guyana; and at State Department Headquarters as a desk officer in the Office of Caribbean Affairs. In Tanzania and Guyana, Kirby served as vice consul.
Continuing on that career path, Kirby served as consul at the Consulate General in Krakow, Poland, from 1988 to 1991, and as regional consular officer at the Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany, from 1996 to 1998, supervising consular operations at U.S. embassies in the countries of the former Soviet Union except Russia.
Returning stateside, he served as director of the Office of Intelligence Coordination at the State Department from 1999 to 2001. Back overseas, Kirby was consul general at the embassy in Warsaw from 2001 to 2004, and consul general at the embassy in Seoul, South Korea, the State Department’s largest non-immigrant visa post, from 2004 to 2006.
Kirby was then appointed to his first ambassadorship in September 2006, serving as ambassador at the embassy in Chişinău, Moldova, from September 2006 to May 2008. He became the principal deputy assistant secretary for consular affairs in June 2008, when he almost immediately confronted with the embarrassing revelation that some State Department employees had been improperly accessing the passport files of various celebrities. More recently, in June 2010, Kirby was involved in the decision to recognize gender change on U.S. passports.
Michael Kirby is married to Sara Powelson Kirby and has two daughters, Katherine and Elizabeth.
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