U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia: Who Is William Heidt?

Saturday, August 08, 2015

William A. Heidt, a career member of the Foreign Service, was nominated on April 7, 2015, to be the next U.S. ambassador to Cambodia. If he’s confirmed, it will be his first ambassadorial posting.


Heidt is from Erie, Pennsylvania, one of seven children of Robert, who owned and operated an excavation business, and Audrey, a teacher. Heidt was an Eagle Scout and attended McDowell High School, graduating in 1979. He went on to Penn State University, earning his B.A. in 1984. Heidt continued his education at George Washington University, graduating with an M.A. in 1986.


He joined the Foreign Service in 1988, with his first posting in Poznan, Poland, as a consular officer. Heidt returned to Washington in 1990 to serve as an economic officer in the Office of Bilateral Trade Affairs. In 1992, he moved to a similar role in the Office of Korean Affairs and ultimately was an economic officer in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.


Heidt got his first taste of Southeast Asia, where he focused much of his career, and Cambodia in 1997, when he was posted for two years to the embassy in Phnom Penh as an economic and commercial officer. He was recognized for his efforts to improve workers’ rights, especially those of apparel workers and to counter illegal logging. In 2000, he was sent to Jakarta, Indonesia, as a finance and development officer.


He was brought home in 2003 to be a special assistant in the Office of the Under Secretary for Economics, Business and Agricultural Affairs. Heidt returned to Jakarta the following year as economic officer in the embassy there.


Heidt was posted to the United Nations in New York in 2007 as a counselor for economic and social affairs. He returned to Poland in 2009 to serve as deputy chief of mission in the Warsaw embassy.


Since 2012, Heidt has been executive assistant to the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment.


If he’s confirmed, Heidt is expected to focus on improving U.S.-Cambodia trade relations and reaching out to that country’s youth. He’ll also be keeping an eye on Cambodian politics leading up to that country’s election in 2018.


Heidt and his wife, Sotie, a contract specialist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have a son, Allen.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Testimony before Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf)

Official Announcement

State Department Cables 2006-2010 (WikiLeaks)


elaine negroponte 8 years ago
To whom it may concern: I have been working in schools in rural Cambodia since 1999 and have met the previous US Ambassadors and would like to let Amb Heidt and his family know what we have been successfully doing. Thank you
R Bob Adams 8 years ago
What email address should I use to send a letter directly to Mr. Heidt, the Ambassador to Cambodia? It is in reference to a visa application of a business contact (hoping)to visit the US soon. Thank you. R Bob Adams Sr. Technical Communications Manager SLS Audio / A Division of Dolby Houston, Texas 713-515-1000

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