Hamdullah Mohib became ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States on Sept. 17, 2015, having most recently served as deputy chief of staff to the Afghan president. The role included oversight of the spokesperson’s office, the office of correspondence and diplomatic communications, protocol office, petitions office and the presidential secretariat. During his tenure at the Presidential Palace, Ambassador Mohib liaised with governmental counterparts, drafted bilateral and multilateral agreements and helped to organize official presidential visits to Azerbaijan, Belgium, China, Germany, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States. Ambassador Mohib led the presidential negotiating team for several intergovernment cooperation agreements and the formulation of Afghanistan’s national development “Realizing Self-Reliance” reform strategy. Ambassador Mohib holds a Ph.D. and bachelor’s degree with honors from Brunel University in the United Kingdom. Before joining the government, he worked for the American University of Afghanistan and Intel Corp. Ambassador Mohib has been an active leader in civil society in the global Afghan community. He founded the largest Afghan diaspora youth association in Europe, the Afghan Students Association of the UK, as well as the Afghan Professionals Network (APN). As part of APN, he started the think tank “Discourse Afghanistan” and initiated community service programming to support special needs orphans in Kabul and to recognize achievements of Afghan women. Ambassador Mohib is fluent in English, Pashto and Dari, with proficiency in Urdu/Hindi. He is a published writer on Afghan politics, as well as on academic research.
Christian Brunmayr assumed the role of deputy chief of mission on Aug. 11, 2015, superseding Sigurd Pacher, who departed the post on Aug. 7 to serve in the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Brunmayr previously served as director for international cultural projects at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Alexander Ehrlich-Adam assumed the role of counselor (trade and economic affairs) on Aug. 10, 2015, having previously served as deputy chief of mission at the Austrian Embassy in Spain since 2011. Ehrlich-Adam has held various positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which he joined in 1996, including the OSCE Department (1998-99) and Protocol Department (2006-11). He has also been posted to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and India.
Josef Prelec assumed the role of consul general on Aug. 17, 2015, superseding Walter Neumayer.
David Frous assumed the role of first secretary on Aug. 10, 2015, superseding Vaclav Kolaja, who departed the post on Aug. 14, 2015.
Andreas Nekolaides assumed the role of deputy chief of mission on June 1, 2015, superseding Olympia Neodeous, who departed the post May 31, 2015. Nekolaides previously served in Vienna, Washington, D.C. and Madrid, as well as director of the Schengen Division and deputy director of the MENA/Gulf Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Democratic Republic of Congo
François Nkuna Balumuene became ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the United States on Sept. 17, 2015, having most recently served as the dean of the diplomatic corps in India (2014-15). He previously served as the Democratic Republic of Congo’s ambassador to Congo (2003-15) with concurrent accreditation to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka, as well as chargé d’affaires of the DRC Embassy in South Africa (2000-03). In addition, Ambassador Balumuene was the diplomatic and administrative assistant to the deputy commissioner general of the Government for MONUC Affairs, in charge of finance, logistics and foreign policy (2000); a member of the technical cell of the International Cooperation Office at the State Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (1999-2000); advisor to the minister of foreign affairs, in charge of international cooperation (1999); director and head of the Europe Department (1997-99); and assistant to the secretary-general for foreign affairs in charge of financial and banking issues (1996-97). Other postings include the Ordinary Passports Division at the Department of Chancery and Litigation; Latin America Division; and embassy in Spain. Ambassador Balumuene holds a master’s degree in economics from the Faculty of Economics at the UNAZA Campus of Kinshasa. Born Sept. 9, 1952, Ambassador Balumuene is married with five children.
Yasser Reda became ambassador of Egypt to the United States on Sept. 17, 2015. He is a senior career diplomat who has served twice as the assistant minister of foreign affairs and chief of the Minister’s Cabinet, from October 2013 to August 2015, and from June 2006 to August 2008. Ambassador Reda was also Egypt’s ambassador to Israel (2008-12) and deputy chief of mission at the Egyptian Embassy in Germany. In addition, during his 33-year career in the Egyptian diplomatic service, he has served in Egypt’s embassies in Italy, Iraq, Cyprus and China. Born in 1958, Ambassador Reda received a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Cairo University. He speaks Arabic, English and French and is married.
Wael Hamed assumed the role of deputy chief of mission in August 2015, superseding Alaa Hegazy, who departed the post in July 2015. After graduating from the American University in Cairo in 1992 with a bachelor’s in economics, Hamed joined the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993 and served in several departments, including the Economic Department, European Department and Cabinet of Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry. Hamed’s postings abroad include the Egyptian Ministry in Bonn/Berlin (1996-2000), Beijing (2002-06) and Moscow, where he served as deputy chief of mission (2009-13). Hamed is married and has two sons.
Skido Seidu Sullman Achulo assumed the role of deputy chief of mission on Aug. 14, 2015, superseding Edith Hazel, who departed the post on Oct. 30, 2013. Achulo previously served as a lecturer at the University of Education in Winneba, Ghana.
Mai Sayavongs became ambassador of Laos to the United States on Aug. 3, 2015, with concurrent accreditation to Canada and Mexico. Ambassador Sayavongs previously served as director-general (2013-15) and deputy director-general (2012-13) of the Asia-Pacific and Africa Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he also served as deputy director-general of the Europe and Americas Department (2004-09) and director of the Americas Division at the Europe and Americas Department (2003-04). Ambassador Sayavongs also previously served in Washington, D.C., at the Lao Embassy as minister counselor and deputy chief of mission (2009-12), second secretary (2001-03) and third secretary (1997-2001). Other ministry postings include: member of the Permanent Secretary of the Lao National Commission for Drug Control & Supervision (1996), member of the Lao-Myanmar Boundary Demarcation Committee (1991-93) and desk officer in the Department of International Organizations (1989-96). Ambassador Sayavongs, 53, holds a master’s degree in international relations from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and a master’s in Asia and international studies from Griffith University in Australia. He also completed courses in English language training from Canberra University, the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii and a higher diploma program at the Lao National Academy of Politics and Public Administration. Ambassador Sayavongs speaks Lao, English and Russian and is married to Soumaly Sayavongs and has two children.
Jonathan Steffert assumed the role of public affairs and communication officer on Oct. 5, superseding Gina Anderson, who departed the post on Oct. 5.
George Cristian Maior became ambassador of Romania to the United States on Sept. 17, 2015, having most recently served as director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI). During his eight years at the helm, the SRI underwent an extensive reform process that allowed it to strengthen bilateral and multilateral partnerships with other intelligence services, as well as to consolidate public confidence. In November 2004, Ambassador Maior was elected senator in the Romanian Parliament, where he held various positions, including: chairman of the Committee for Defense, Public Order and National Security; member of the Joint Committee for the Parliamentary Oversight on the Foreign Intelligence Service Activity; and member of the Senate Committee for Human Rights, Cults and Minorities. From 2000 to 2004, he was state secretary and head of the Department for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Defense Policy in the Ministry of National Defense, where he was responsible for coordinating the strategic and military dimension of Romania’s NATO accession process. Ambassador Maior also served as a diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Department of Treaties and Department of Strategic Affairs (1992-97) and chargé d’affaires of the Romanian Embassy in Ireland (1997-99). Ambassador Maior received a law degree in international and comparative law from the George Washington University in D.C. and a Ph.D. in international law from the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. His dissertation, “National and European Features in Strasbourg European Court Jurisprudence,” was nominated for the UNESCO Most Prize in 1998. He was also a university professor and Ph.D. coordinator at the Department of International Relations and European Integration within the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration in Bucharest. Ambassador Maior, who was born Nov. 16, 1967, in Cluj-Napoca, is married to Anamaria Maior and has two children.
Trinidad and Tobago
Neil Parsan became secretary for integral development at the Organization of American States, having most recent served as ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to the U.S. and its permanent representative to the OAS (2011-15). Ambassador Parsan earned his undergraduate medical degree at the University of the West Indies (UWI), where he graduated with distinction. After spending eight years as a lecturer/tutor at the UWI Faculty of Medical Sciences, he pursued a master’s of business administration, graduating as top student with distinction. He also holds a registered financial consultant (RFC) degree, a CACM from Harvard University School of Public Health, and a world trade professional cegree from ITM Worldwide in Sweden. Ambassador Parsan was also awarded an honorary doctorate for education, culture and humanitarian work from the American University, registered with Cambridge University and the Congress of Mexico. Ambassador Parsan is presently the chairman of the Global Gas Council; chair of the Honorary Council for the Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma, and Anesthetic Care (the G4 Alliance); and a director of the Young Americas Business Trust and the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business Alumni Board. He previously served as chair of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development in the latter half of 2014; vice chair of the Permanent Council in 2014; chair of the Permanent Council from April to June 2015; and chair of the OAS Retirement and Pension Committee.
Whatmore Goora departed the post of counselor on July 30, 2015.
Russell Muusha assumed the role of minister counselor on Aug. 3, 2015.