Appointments

Melanie Harris Higgins | U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Burundi
Melanie Harris Higgins (SFS) of Georgia is the new U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Burundi. Since 2018, Higgins has served as the director of the Office of Central African Affairs. Prior to that, Higgins served as principal officer in Auckland and deputy chief of mission in Port Moresby. Earlier in her career, she served as the deputy political counselor and unit chief in Jakarta and acting director and acting public affairs advisor for the Office of Public Affairs in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. She also held an assignment as the Thailand desk officer. Other postings included being seconded to the Office of the High Representative, Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, and she held assignments as a watch officer in the Operations Center in Australia and Cameroon. Higgins earned a B.A. from John Hopkins University and an M.A. from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. She speaks French, Indonesian, and Bosnian.

Lisa S. Kenna | U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Peru
Lisa S. Kenna (SFS) of Vermont is the new U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Peru. Kenna previously served as executive secretary of the Department of State and as a senior adviser. Prior to that, she served as the executive assistant to the secretary of state and political adviser to the secretary of defense. She was the director of the Iraq Office on the National Security Council at the White House and deputy director of the Iraq Political Office at the Department. She served as chief of the political section in Amman and earlier served as a political-military officer in Cairo. Earlier in her career, she also held positions in Mbabane and Peshawar, and she served for nine years as a Central Intelligence Agency officer. Prior to joining the government, she was an attorney in private practice. Kenna earned a B.A. from Middlebury College and a J.D. at the University of Connecticut School of Law. She speaks Arabic, Persian, and Urdu.

Sung Y. Kim | U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia
Sung Y. Kim (SFS) of California is the new U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia. Kim has served as ambassador in the Philippines since 2016. Prior to that, he served as a deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. During his three decades with the Department, Kim has served as ambassador to Korea, special representative for North Korea Policy, special envoy for the Six Party Talks, vice consul in Hong Kong, and director of the Office of Korean Affairs. He has also served at positions in Seoul, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, and Washington. Kim earned a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, a J.D. from Loyola University Law School in Los Angeles, and an M.L. from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He speaks Korean and Japanese.

Jeanne Marie Maloney | U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Eswatini
Jeanne Marie Maloney (SFS) of Virginia is the new U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Eswatini. Previously, Maloney served as the foreign policy advisor to the U.S. Army Africa in Vicenza. At the Department, she has served in numerous leadership positions, including director of the Office of Security Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs, director of the Office of Terrorist Screening and Interdiction in the Bureau of Counterterrorism, director of the Office of Fraud Prevention Programs in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, and senior advisor in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. She has also served as deputy political-military counselor in Baghdad, a desk officer for Angola, Portugal, and the Vatican, a career development officer in the Bureau of Human Resources (now Bureau of Global Talent Management), consul in Brazilia, and consular officer in Lisbon and Kuwait. Maloney earned a B.A. from the College of William and Mary and an M.B.A. from the University of Tulsa. She speaks Portuguese, Spanish, and basic Arabic.

Michael A. McCarthy | U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia
Michael A. McCarthy (SFS) of Virginia is the new U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia. Previously, he served as consul general in Johannesburg. McCarthy has served as deputy chief of mission in South Sudan and director of the Office of Retirement in the Bureau of Global Talent Management (previously Bureau of Human Resources). His earlier assignments included service as a management officer in Frankfurt, New Delhi, and Asmara. He served as area management officer of the East Africa Division in the Bureau of Overseas Buildings and Operations, and a country desk officer in the Office of West African Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs. McCarthy also served in positions in Montevideo, Colombo, and Bangkok. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he served as vice president of marketing at Compro Systems, Inc. in Baltimore, Md. He was also a technical information specialist in the Executive Office of the President in addition to serving earlier as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo. McCarthy earned a B.S. from Tulane University. He speaks French, Spanish, and Thai.

James Broward Story | U.S. Ambassador to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
James Broward Story (SFS) of South Carolina is the new U.S. Ambassador to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Previously, Story served as chargé d’affaires of the Venezuela Affairs Unit in Bogota and chargé d’affaires in Caracas until operations were suspended in March 2019. Story served as consul general in Rio de Janeiro, director of International Narcotics and Law (INL) Enforcement for the Western Hemisphere, director or INL for Colombia, and senior civilian for Task Force Rakkasan in Regional Command-East Afghanistan. Story’s earlier assignments included service as a political/economic chief and deputy principal officer in São Paulo, regional environmental affairs officer for South America in Brasilia, officer in the Marine Conservation Office in the Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Scientific Affairs, and positions in Maputo, Guadalajara, and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Story earned a B.A./B.S. from South Carolina College at the University of South Carolina and an M.S. from Georgetown University. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

Thomas Laszlo Vajda | U.S. Ambassador to the Union of Burma
Thomas Laszlo Vajda (SFS) of Arizona is the new U.S. Ambassador to the Union of Burma. Previously, Vajda served as deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. He has served as consul general in Mumbai, deputy chief of mission in Burba, deputy coordinator of the Office of Assistance Coordination for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), and director of NEA’s Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative. Earlier in his career, he served as deputy office director of Australian, New Zealand, and Pacific Island Affairs in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, political-military affairs officer in the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, and as political/economic section chief in Tirana. Vajda was also assigned as a desk officer in the Office of Japanese Affairs and in the Office of Korean Affairs. Vajda received a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. from Tufts University.


Previous Appointments