Ambassador to Slovakia: Who Is Adam Sterling?

Sunday, March 27, 2016
Adam Sterling

Adam Sterling, a career member of the Foreign Service, on Dec. 17, 2015, was nominated to be ambassador to Slovakia. If he’s confirmed by the Senate, it will be his first such post.


Sterling is originally from New York, but his family moved to Lawrence, Kansas, while he was in grade school. He graduated from Lawrence High School in 1977 and went to Grinnell College in Iowa, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree. Sterling subsequently earned a Master’s in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.


Before joining the State Department, Sterling worked in New York City as a liaison officer in the mayor’s office to the United Nations and consular corps. He joined the Foreign Service in 1990, with his first posting in Peru. In 1993, Sterling was sent to Belgium, but returned to the United States in 1995 to be a desk officer for Central Asian affairs, a region he would focus on through much of his career.


Sterling was assigned in 1998 as a political officer in Kazakhstan, then in 2001 took a similar post in Tel Aviv, Israel. He returned to Washington in 2005, first as special assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State, then the following year as Director for Central and Eastern European Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council.


In 2010, Sterling returned to Central Asia, this time to Azerbaijan, as Deputy Chief of Mission, serving as chargé d’affaires for a time. Sterling assumed a similar role in The Hague, Netherlands in 2013 and was chargé there from 2013 to 2014 and continued serving there as he was nominated for the Slovakian post.


Sterling’s wife, Veerle Coignez, is Belgian and is an international development consultant on public health concerns. They have a daughter, Elka, and a son, Bram. Sterling speaks French, Spanish, Russian, Azerbaijani and some Dutch.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Official biography

White House announcement


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