December 2014


European Union

David O’Sullivan became ambassador of the European Union to the United States on Nov. 18, 2014. Prior to arriving in the United States, Ambassador O’Sullivan served as the chief operating officer of the European External Action Service (EEAS). Ambassador O’Sullivan was also director general for trade from 2005 to 2010. Previously, he was secretary-general of the European Commission from 2000 to 2005, head of cabinet for Commission President Romano Prodi and director general for education and training. He started his career in the Irish Foreign Ministry and spent four years in the Commission Delegation in Tokyo. He also has extensive experience in EU social and employment policy. Ambassador O’Sullivan has a background in economics, graduating from Trinity College in Dublin and having completed post-graduate studies at the College of Europe in Bruges. He holds an honorary doctorate from the Dublin Institute of Technology and is also a member of the Consultative Board of the Institute for International Integration Studies at Trinity College. He is a visiting professor at the European College of Parma and was awarded Alumnus of the Year 2013 by the College of Europe, as well as the EU Transatlantic Business Award by the American Chamber of Commerce in 2014. He is married with two children.


Lt. Gen. Joseph Henry Smith became ambassador of Ghana to the United States on Nov. 18, 2014 becoming Ghana’s first ambassador to the U.S. who also previously served as the defense, military, naval and air attaché in Washington. Ambassador Smith held various posts throughout his military career, including: instructor with the Ghana Military Academy (1973-74); company commander of the United Nations Emergency Force in Egypt (1976); assistant deputy secretary (military) with the Supreme Military Council at the Castle, Osu (1977-78); directing staff at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (Senior Division) in Teshie (1980-83); director of military training (1984-85) and director of military operations (1985-87) at Force Headquarters; and chief staff officer at the Army Headquarters (1987-88). Between 1988 and 1992, he served as the defense, military, naval and air attaché to the Pentagon and United States Armed Forces, with accreditation to the Canadian Defence Forces and Ghana’s Mission to the United Nations in New York (on peacekeeping matters).

On his return from his diplomatic duty, Ambassador Smith was made commander of the 1st Infantry Brigade Group (now Southern Command) in 1992, subsequent to which he was appointed commandant of Military Academy and Training Schools (MATS) from 1992 to 1993. Afterward, he was appointed commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade Group (now Northern Command) from 1993 to 1996 and was commander of the Special Task Force formed to restore law and order to Northern Ghana during the ethnic conflict involving the Nanumba, Konkomba and Dagomba tribes from January to September 1994. Ambassador Smith also served as commander of the Professional Ghana Army from 1996 to 2001. After his retirement from the Armed Forces, Ambassador Smith served as chairman of the National Insurance Commission Board from 2001 to 2009, overseeing the establishment of the Ghana Insurance College in Accra. From 2009 to 2013, he was appointed the honourable minister for defense.

Ambassador Smith’s political career began after his retirement from the Ghana Armed Forces in 2002. He is an active member of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) Party. As the honourable minister for defense, he also served as member of various important bodies, including; the Cabinet of Ghana, the Armed Forces Council, the National Security Council, the Africa Union Security Council, the Presidential Transitional Committee of Ghana and the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Committee. He was chairman of the Board of Ministers tasked to establish the National Petroleum and Security Coordination Centre, chairman of the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre Board and also the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College Central Board. During this time, Ambassador Smith also saw to the modernization, restructuring and major retooling of the Ghana Armed Forces to adapt to the 21st century.

Ambassador Smith attended Achimota School from 1959 to 1963 and was commissioned into the Ghana Army Engineer Corps in 1965 after graduating from the Ghana Military Academy. He is also a graduate of the Pakistan Military Engineering College, the U.S. Army Engineer College, the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College. Ambassador Smith is married with five children.


Asal Al-Tal assumed the position of deputy chief of mission on Sept. 1, replacing Fawaz Belbeisi, who departed the post April 1, 2014. Al-Tal previously served as director of the Private Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. Al-Tal, who joined the Foreign Service in 1999, has also served in Washington, D.C. (2001-04), Bern (2004-06) and Brussels (2008-12). She holds a master’s of law degree in international law with international relations from the University of Kent and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Jordan.