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Name: Swan, James
Current Position: Previous Ambassador

The latest ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo is a State Department Africa specialist who has served as the U.S. Special Representative for Somalia since August 2011. James C. Swan previously served as the number two official at the U.S. embassy in Kinshasa, and he is well acquainted with the situation in war-torn central Africa. Confirmed by the Senate to succeed James Entwistle, Swan was sworn in on September 5.


Born circa 1962, Swan earned a B.S. in Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1984, an M.A. in International Studies at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and an M.A. in national security studies at the National War College in 2005.


Before joining the Foreign Service, Swan worked as a management analyst in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.


Swan has devoted most of his professional career to countries facing complex political transitions, mainly in Africa. Early career postings include consular officer in Haiti from 1988 to 1989, political officer in Nicaragua, from 1990 to 1992, chief of the Political Section at the embassy in Yaoundé, Cameroon, from 1992 to 1994, and Somalia Watcher in Nairobi, Kenya, from 1994 to 1996.


In Washington, he served as desk officer for Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) from 1996 to 1998, during the rebellion that led to the fall of Mobutu Sese Seko after 32 years in power and the difficult first year of its successor regime, which renamed the country. Swan then served as deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo from 1998 to 2001, and as deputy chief of mission in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, from 2001 to 2004. 


Back in Washington, Swan served as director of analysis for Africa in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 2005 to 2006, and as deputy assistant secretary of state for African Affairs from December 2006 to September 2008.


On October 8, 2008, Swan was sworn in as ambassador to Djibouti, his first ever ambassadorship.


Swan is married to fellow Foreign Service Officer Daphne Michelle Titus, with whom he has two children, Mitchell and Garner.

-Matt Bewig


To Learn More:

Official Biography

Testimony Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf)

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