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Name: La Lime, Helen
Current Position: Ambassador

The southwest African nation of Angola—a youthful country sitting on vast reserves of oil and diamonds—will soon have a new ambassador from Washington in the person of Helen La Lime. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, La Lime lived in Angola as a child because her father worked for Texaco. La Lime has been detailed to the Defense Department since 2011, serving as director of Outreach for the United States Africa Command. Nominated by President Barack Obama on September 10, 2013, La Lime would succeed Christopher McMullen, who served in Luanda starting in October 2010.


Born circa 1951 to Ray and Teresa Meagher, Helen R. Meagher La Lime earned a B.S. at Georgetown University in 1973 and as M.S. at the National Defense University in 1996.


After teaching English in France, Portugal and the Netherlands, she joined the State Department in 1980. La Lime served early career postings as a consular officer in Bern, Switzerland, and Stuttgart, Germany; as a consular officer and general services officer in Warsaw, Poland; and as principal officer and consular officer in Zurich, Switzerland.


Later, La Lime served as an international economist at the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (1993-1995); as deputy chief of mission at the embassy in N’Djamena, Chad (1996-1999); and as deputy director in the Office of Central African Affairs. 


After serving as director of the Office of Central African Affairs from 2000 to 2001, La Lime served four consecutive tours in Africa. She served as deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Rabat, Morocco, from 2001 to 2003; as ambassador to Mozambique from April 2003 to December 2006; as consul general in Cape Town, South Africa, from 2006 to 2008; and as deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires at the embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, from 2008 to 2011. 


Helen Meagher La Lime speaks French, Portuguese, Spanish and Polish. She is married to Robert Q. La Lime, and the couple has two children, Matthew and Adriana.

-Matt Bewig


Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf)

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