U.S. Ambassador to Panama: Who Is John Feeley?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
John Feeley

John Feeley, a career member of the Foreign Service, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 9, 2015, as the next U.S. ambassador to Panama. It is his first ambassadorial post.


Feeley attended Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and is a 2004 Distinguished Graduate of the National War College. Before joining the State Department, Feeley was a Marine Corps helicopter pilot from 1983 to 1990.


Feeley’s career has been focused on the Western Hemisphere. His early assignments included Colombia and the Dominican Republic, as well as stints in Washington at the State Department operations center. In 1998, Feeley was appointed Policy Planning Officer in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and in 1999 he was made executive assistant in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. The following year he became deputy director in the Office of Caribbean Affairs.


Feeley was sent to Mexico City in 2001 as a deputy political counselor at the embassy there. He returned to Washington in 2004 as deputy executive secretary in the office of the Secretary of State. There, he worked for secretaries Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, arranging travel and coordinating their schedules. In 2006, he became director of the Office of Central American affairs. Two years later, he was moved to the Office of Recruitment as an assessor.


Feeley returned to Mexico City in 2009 as the deputy chief of mission. Beginning in 2011, he served as chargé d’affaires upon the departure of Ambassador Carlos Pascual after some embarrassing cables were released as part of Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning’s WikiLeaks dump. Feeley later testified in secret at Manning’s trial concerning the release’s impact on relations with Mexico and Ecuador.


Feeley served as the coordinator for the Summit of the Americas, for which he oversaw preparation for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s work at the event held in Cartagena, Colombia.


Since 2012, Feeley was principal deputy assistant secretary at the Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Part of that work was preparation for the resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba. It also involved ongoing management of regional policy implementation and the supervision of 50 diplomatic posts in the Americas.


Feeley is married; he and his wife Cherie, also a Foreign Service officer, have two sons.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Official Biography


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