Marshall Islands’ Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Gerald Zackios?

Saturday, December 10, 2016
Gerald Zackios

Gerald Zackios was sworn in as the Marshall Islands’ ambassador to the United States on June 20, 2016. It’s his first such posting.


Zackios, who has dual citizenship in the Marshall Islands and Palau, was born in 1965. He has a bachelor’s degree in law and a master’s in international maritime law from the University of Papua New Guinea.


He served as his country’s attorney general from 1996 to 1999. Zackios then won a seat in the Nitijela, Marshall Islands’ legislature, from Arno Atoll. Beginning in 2000, he served as minister in assistance to then-President Kessai Note. The following year, Zackios was named minister of foreign affairs and trade. He also served as chief negotiator in the revision of his country’s Compact of Free Association with the United States, which gives Marshall Islanders the right to live and work in the United States without a visa. Zackios also helped negotiate a deal that allows the United States to maintain its Kwajalein missile test range until at least 2066.


In 2008, Zackios took over as chairman of the Nitijela’s Committee on Public Accounts and in 2010 moved over to lead the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade and served as Vice Speaker.


Zackios lost his seat in the Nitijela in 2012 after an election in which he won a majority of the vote from constituents in the Marshall Islands, but lost when votes from islanders in the United States were counted.


In 2013, Zackios was made regional director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the principal technical and scientific organization in the region. He held that post until taking the Washington assignment.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Gerald Sworn in for D.C. Duty (Marshall Islands Journal)


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