U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso: Who Is Andrew Robert Young?

Saturday, October 29, 2016
Andrew Young

Andrew Young, a career member of the Foreign Service, was confirmed by the Senate on September 28, 2016 as the U.S. ambassador to Burkina Faso. It’s Young’s first such position.


Young was born April 18, 1961, in Downey, California. He attended UC Berkeley, graduating with a B.A. in 1985. He also earned a political science certificate from Institut d’études politiques d’Aix-en-Provence. Early jobs included being an interpreter for the U.S. Olympic Committee for the 1984 Games, a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington and as an intern in the U.S. embassy in Bangui, Central African Republic, in 1987. Young returned to school, earning an M.A. at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in 1988.


He then took a job as an interpreter for the State Department and moved on to the Commerce Department as a desk officer and economist for the Central Africa Region. He also worked briefly as an underwriter for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation before joining the Foreign Service in 1991.


Young’s first assignment was as a consular officer in Hong Kong. He returned to Washington in 1993 as the desk officer on the India and Bhutan Desk in the Bureau of South Asian Affairs. Young put that experience to use beginning in 1995 when he was made political and economic section chief in the U.S. consulate in Bombay, India. Two years later, he was a political officer in the embassy in Rangoon, Burma, and beginning in 2000 he served as the deputy principal officer in the consulate in Auckland, New Zealand.


Young came home in 2003 to serve as senior watch officer in the State Department Operations Center. The following year, he began a stint as foreign policy adviser to Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut). In 2005, he was made desk officer for Italy and San Marino in the State Department’s Bureau of European Affairs, then in 2007 was sent to Paris as political counselor in the embassy there.


Young went to Seoul, South Korea in 2010 as an information officer in the embassy and as a Korean language student. In 2013, he was made deputy chief of mission in the embassy in Bamako, Mali, a post he held until going to Burkina Faso.


Young’s wife, Margaret, is also a Foreign Service officer. They have two college-age children, Nathan and Claire. Young speaks French, Italian and Korean.

-Steve Straehley


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