February 2020

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Austria

Martin Weiss became ambassador of Austria to the United States on Jan. 6, 2020.

He previously served as Austria’s ambassador to Israel (2015-19), director of the Press and Information Department of the Foreign Ministry (2012-15) and ambassador to Cyprus (2009-12). Throughout his career, he has also held several postings in the United States: He started as a human rights attaché for the Austrian Mission to the United Nations in New York in 1991; held the positions of political counselor, counselor for congressional affairs and public diplomacy and later director of the Austrian Press and Information Service at the Austrian Embassy in Washington; and most recently served as Austrian consul general in Los Angeles from 2004 to 2009.

Ambassador Weiss, who was born Dec. 31, 1962, in Innsbruck, Austria, holds a law degree from the University of Vienna and a master’s of law from the University of Virginia. He is married and the father of two.

Thailand

Thani Thongphakdi became ambassador of Thailand to the United States on Jan. 6, 2020.

A career foreign service officer who joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1987, Ambassador Thongphakdi most recently served as deputy permanent secretary for foreign affairs of Thailand (2017-19) and permanent representative to the United Nations Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva (2012-17). Prior to that, he was director-general of the Department of Information and spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, having served as deputy director-general and deputy spokesman before that. He has also served as chief of staff to the minister of foreign affairs; director for North America; head of the Policy and Planning Division’s Policy Section; and liaison officer and assistant permanent representative of Thailand to UNESCAP in Bangkok. From 2001 to 2004, Ambassador Thongphakdi was posted to Washington, D.C., as counselor and then minister counselor responsible for political and economic affairs. From 1995 to 2000, he was seconded to the Secretariat of the Prime Minister, working as a foreign affairs coordinator and speechwriter for the prime minister.

Ambassador Thongphakdi is a graduate of the Australian National University in Canberra, where he received a combined bachelor’s of economics and bachelor’s of science degree in 1985. He continued his studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., receiving a master’s in foreign service with honors in international business diplomacy in 1987.

Ukraine

Volodymyr Yelchenko became ambassador of Ukraine to the United States on Jan. 6, 2020.

He most recently served as permanent representative of Ukraine to the United Nations in New York (2015-19), including as Ukraine’s representative to the U.N. Security Council (2016-17). Prior to that, he was Ukraine’s ambassador to Russia (2010-15) and ambassador to Austria (2005-08) and permanent representative to the international organizations in Vienna (2008-10). Ambassador Yelchenko also served at the United Nations during a previous stint as permanent representative from 1997 to 2000, representative to the U.N. Security Council from 2000 to 2001 and president of the U.N. Security Council in March 2001. In addition, he was the deputy minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine (2000-01); deputy secretary of state for foreign affairs (2001-03); secretary of state for foreign affairs (March-May 2003); first deputy minister for foreign affairs (2003-05); and chairman of the National Commission of Ukraine for UNESCO (2004-05). Other postings include deputy director (1993-95) and later director (1995-97) of the Department of International Organizations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as an international civil affairs officer with the United Nations Protection Force in Croatia (1993).

Ambassador Yelchenko, who was born June 27, 1959, holds a master’s degree in international relations and international law from Kyiv State University and is married to Iryna Yelchenko, with whom he has one daughter.

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