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Name: Benjaminson, Eric
Current Position: Previous Ambassador

Eric D. Benjaminson, the U.S. ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé and Principe, is a career diplomat specializing in economic and African Affairs. He presented his credentials in Gabon on December 3, 2010.

On his father’s side, Benjaminson comes from a family of Latvian Jews who emigrated to South Africa and the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born March 2, 1960, Benjaminson earned a BA degree in history from the University of Oregon in 1981. He was a teaching fellow in history at the university and worked as an editor at a research institute and as a technician at a Hewlett-Packard factory before joining the Foreign Service in 1982.
His first assignments were as the economic officer in the State Department’s Office of Southern African Affairs in Washington and as a consular officer at both the U.S. Consulate General in Montreal, Canada, and the U.S. embassy in Lagos, Nigeria.
Benjaminson then worked at the U.S. embassy in Beijing as the economic officer responsible for financial and development issues. In preparation for that assignment, he studied Chinese for two years in Washington and Taiwan. 
He studied graduate-level economics at the Foreign Service Institute in 1988. 
From 1993-1995, Benjaminson was responsible for U.S. involvement in the Paris Club, a group of creditor nations that deals with debtor nations, and other external debt issues in the State Department’s Economic Bureau.
He served as special assistant to the acting secretary of state for economic affairs from 1995-1996.
For the next three years, Benjaminson was at the U.S. embassy in Sweden, where he concentrated on environmental, aviation and energy issues.
In 1999, he moved to Belgium to be counselor for economic affairs at the U.S. embassy and had responsibility for a variety of bilateral and multilateral trade, financial and environmental questions.
It was back to Africa in 2003, serving as deputy chief of mission in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
From 2005 to 2008, he served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Windhoek, Namibia.
His last assignment prior to becoming an ambassador for the first time was as minister counselor for economic affairs at the U.S. embassy in Ottawa, Canada, from 2008 to July 2010. 
Benjaminson has been a special lecturer on African and development issues at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in California, at the University of Southern California, at Carleton University in Ottawa and at the University of Ottawa.
His foreign languages are French, Chinese and Swedish. His wife Paula is a former diplomat who switched to fiber art. The couple has two daughters, Emma and Molly.
Official Biography (State Department)
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