Back to Officials Back to Equatorial Guinea


Name: Asquino, Mark
Current Position: Ambassador

One of the worst dictatorships in Africa, oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, will soon receive a U.S. ambassador with prior African experience in Sudan and prior dictator experience in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Sudan. Mark L. Asquino was nominated by President Obama on March 16, 2012, subject to confirmation by the Senate.


The son of Louis and Eleanor Asquino, Mark Asquino was born in 1949 in East Providence, Rhode Island. His father ran a sheet metal and roofing business in East Providence. Asquino graduated from East Providence High School in 1967, and earned his A.B. and Ph.D. in American Civilization at Brown University in 1971 and 1978, respectively. His doctoral thesis was titled, “Criticism in the Balance: The Literary Anthologist as Literary Critic and Promoter in Nineteenth-Century America.” From 1975 to 1976, Asquino was the Fulbright Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Oviedo in Spain, and was also a lecturer at the University of Rhode Island prior to entering the Foreign Service.


Asquino began his Foreign Service career with the U.S. Information Agency in 1978. Early overseas assignments included public affairs junior officer trainee at the embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, and assistant press officer at the embassy in Panama City, Panama. From 1982 to 1986, he served as director of the U.S. Cultural Center and assistant cultural affairs officer at the embassy in Madrid, Spain. Asquino also served as cultural affairs officer at the embassy in Bucharest, Romania, from 1991 to 1994, and as information officer at the embassy in Santiago, Chile, from 1994 to 1998.


After completing Russian language training, Asquino served as public affairs officer at the embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from 1999 to 2002. At first, this was a quiet, backwater assignment. But after the U.S. decided to attack neighboring Afghanistan over its refusal to turn over Osama bin Laden for planning the September 11, 2001, attacks, Uzbekistan became a front-line state that the U.S relied upon for help in Afghanistan. As such, Asquino conducted regular briefings and assisted the hundreds of American and international journalists who came to Tashkent in those years.


From 2003 to 2006, Asquino was deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where he directed the mission’s move to the new capital of Astana. Following this posting, he returned to Washington to serve as principal deputy coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) at the U.S. Department of State from 2006 to 2008.


Asquino was deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, from 2008 to August 2010, when he returned to Washington to serve as a Senior Public Diplomacy Fellow at George Washington University for the 2010-2011 academic year. He is currently executive assistant in the Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights.


He is married to Jane Asquino.

-Matt Bewig

Bookmark and Share