United States Ambassador to Zambia: Who Is Dan Foote?

Sunday, September 17, 2017
Dan Foote

Daniel Lewis Foote, a career member of the Foreign Service who has spent much of the last several years in drug enforcement, was nominated on September 2, 2017, to be the United States’ ambassador to Zambia. If he’s confirmed, it will be his first such posting.


Foote was born in Syracuse, New York, and grew up in the Buffalo area. He graduated from East High School in Williamsville, New York, in 1982 and went to Columbia University, where he was a defensive end on the football team and participated in track and field for the Lions. Foote graduated with a B.A. in economics in 1986.


After college, Foote worked in New York City for six years as a trader/broker of natural gas. He left the business world behind in 1992 to become a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia, where he oversaw the construction of water systems, improvement of schools and residences, and alternative agriculture and marketing programs. After his two-year stint was up, Foote moved to Northern California to teach high school Spanish and coach football and track. He joined the State Department in 1998.


Foote’s early assignments included time in the State Department Operations Center and in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, a posting at the embassy in London and in the consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico. He was part of the reconstruction team in Erbil, in the Kurdish region of Iraq. He was then assigned as management officer and political/economic chief in the Luxembourg embassy in 2005 and 2006. He was also a management counselor at the embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2007.


Foote was then sent back to Iraq, first at the Baghdad embassy and then to lead the provincial reconstruction team in Maysan province. There, he focused on  creating a U.S.-friendly local government and on economic development, including the delivery of services such as water and electricity.


In 2010, Foote was in Colombia as director of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) section in that country. The following year, he was sent to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as deputy chief of mission and went across the island of Hispanola to a similar role in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 2013, where he also served as chargé d'affaires.


Foote then went to Kabul, Afghanistan, as coordinating director at the embassy, where he managed U.S. civilian foreign assistance and law enforcement activities in Afghanistan. In 2015, he returned to Washington as a deputy assistant secretary for INL overseeing that organization’s activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in addition to its Office of Anticrime Programs. Foote was in that post when nominated as ambassador.


Foote met his wife, Claudia, when he was with the Peace Corps in Bolivia. They have two children: Cecilia and Danny. Befitting his background as an athlete, Foote is a fitness enthusiast and a fan of the Buffalo Bills football team.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Official Biography

On the Job in Iraq, Making a Difference (by Lou Michel, Buffalo News)

State Department Cables 2006-2009 (WikiLeaks)


Leave a comment