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Name: Knight, James
Current Position: Ambassador

U.S. ambassador to Benin since September 30, 2009, James Knight is a Vietnam veteran and experienced diplomat who has spent almost his entire career serving in African countries.

Knight served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He later earned a PhD from the University of Chicago.
Before joining the Foreign Service, Knight worked as a software developer for the private sector and an economic development specialist for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Niger.
His earlier assignments included being the general services officer at the embassy in Lagos, Nigeria; the political, economic and consular officer for Embassy Banjul in Gambia; political officer in Antananarivo, Madagascar; country affairs officer for Ethiopia in the State Department’s Office of East African Affairs; and deputy chief of mission for Embassy Praia, Cape Verde.
Knight then was deputy chief of mission for the U.S. Mission to Angola, and later team leader of the Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team based in Mosul, Iraq.
Most recently, he was director of the Office of East African Affairs, which provides political and economic policy support and liaison for Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Knight and his wife, Amelia Bell Knight, a crisis management specialist at the Foreign Service Institute, have three sons and a daughter. In 2008, the Knights contributed to the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Clinton.
Official Biography (State Department)
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