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Name: Baily, Jess L
Current Position: Ambassador


On July 8, 2014, President Barack Obama announced the nomination of Jess L. Baily, a career Foreign Service officer, as ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia. It will be the first ambassadorial posting for Baily.


The son of Oliver and Joan Baily, Jess Baily, a native of Cincinnati, graduated from St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, in 1978 and had an early focus on joining the Foreign Service. After high school he earned a B.A. in History and French Literature in 1982 from Yale and an M.A. from Columbia in European History in 1985.


Before joining the State Department, Baily worked at AMIDEAST, a non-profit organization that has training programs in English and other subjects for professionals in the Middle East and sponsors student exchanges between the United States and Middle Eastern nations.


Baily started work at the State Department in 1985, initially at the U.S. Information Agency (USIA). His early assignments included the U.S. embassies in Dakar, Senegal, and Dhaka, Bangladesh. In 1992, Baily became the binational center director at the embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. He returned to the United States in 1994 as the USIA desk officer for Francophone West Africa and was named a senior advisor in the office of USIA’s deputy director in 1995. Baily’s next USIA assignment was as the agency’s representative to the American Foreign Service Association.


In 1998, Baily went overseas again, this time to Turkey as cultural affairs officer in the embassy in Ankara, and then as information officer. He was transferred to the Netherlands in 2002 as counselor for public affairs in the embassy in The Hague.


Baily returned to the United States in 2005 as director of the Washington Foreign Press Centers. The foreign press centers, currently in Washington and New York, facilitate access for members of foreign media to U.S. government officials, political figures and information. The centers frequently sponsor foreign-only briefings and tours for reporters.


Beginning in 2007, Baily served a tour leading the State Department’s regional reconstruction team in Erbil, Iraq, which is in the Kurdish northern region of the country. He returned to Washington in 2008 as director of the Office of United Nations Political Affairs, which develops, coordinates and implements U.S. policy on political issues that are before the UN Security Council. In 2010, Baily was named director of the Office of Southeast European Affairs, where he managed bilateral relations between the United States and Turkey, Greece and Cyprus.


Baily returned to Turkey as deputy chief of mission in Ankara in 2011, where he has worked since.


Baily’s wife, Capie Polk Baily, is a former Foreign Service Officer. The couple has one son, Noah. Baily speaks Turkish, French and Thai.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Official Biography

Diplomat Leads Iraq Team (by Malia Rulon, Philadelphia Enquirer)

State Department Cables (WikiLeaks)

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