U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar and Comoros: Who Is Robert Yamate?
On September 11, 2014, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing into the nomination of Robert T. Yamate, a career Foreign Service officer, to be the U.S. ambassador to Madagascar and also for the Comoros. If he’s confirmed, it will be the first ambassadorial posting for Yamate.
Yamate is from Monterey Park, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. He attended Cal Poly Pomona, earning a B.S. in mathematics in 1973. He then went to nearby University of LaVerne and earned an M.A. in education in 1977. He continued his graduate education at the University of Pittsburgh, earning an M.B.A. there in 1983.
Yamate’s early Foreign Service assignments included stints in Tokyo, Japan; Budapest, Hungary; and in the State Department Operations Center in Washington. In 1989, he was made an administrative officer at the U.S. Embassy in Antananarivo, Madagascar. His first posting in that island nation lasted two years, after which he was made a management officer in the U.S. Consulate in Montréal.
He was posted to Apia, Western Samoa, in 1994 as charge d’affaires at the embassy. He returned to Washington in 1997 as deputy executive director in the Office of Personnel. Yamate went to Taipei, Taiwan, as an administrative officer at the American Institute, which serves as the U.S. mission there. He returned to Africa in 2002 as a management counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe, and in 2004 was appointed minister counselor for management at the embassy in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).
Yamate was sent to Geneva as a minister counselor for management at the U.S. mission to the United Nations. He was brought back to Washington in 2008 as a multifunctional officer in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.
In 2010, Yamate returned to Africa as the deputy chief of mission in Dakar, Senegal, acting as charge d’affaires for a time in 2012. He has served since 2013 as an assessor on the Department of State Board of Examiners.
Yamate and his wife, Michiko, work with animal rescue organizations abroad and enjoy tennis. He speaks French, Japanese and Hungarian.
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