Ritva Koukku-Ronde became ambassador of Finland to the United States on Sept. 9, 2011 and is the first female ambassador to hold the post.
Ambassador Koukku-Ronde has worked in various positions in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for almost three decades, most recently serving as undersecretary of state (2009-11), director-general of the Department for Development Policy (2005-09), and deputy director-general of the Department for European Affairs (2003-05). Other postings in the ministry include special advisor to the director-general of the Political Department (1995) and director of U.N. development issues in the Department of International Development Cooperation (1996-98), where she was also an attaché in 1987. In addition, she was minister, deputy chief of mission at the Finnish Embassy in Germany (1998-2003), counselor, deputy chief of mission at The Hague (1990-94), and second secretary, first secretary and deputy chief of mission at the Finnish Embassy in Kenya, as well as focal point to UNEP and U.N. Habitat (1987-90). Ambassador Koukku-Ronde also served as an attaché in the Press and Culture Section of the Foreign Affairs Ministry in 1985, before which she was a freelance journalist.
She holds a master’s degree in history from the University of Tampere and is married to Dr. Hidde Ronde and has two daughters, Emma and Elsa.
Michael Moussa-Adamo became ambassador of Gabon to the United States on Sept. 9, 2011.
Ambassador Moussa is no stranger to Washington. After completing his master’s degree in international relations and communications at Boston University in 1989, he worked as a consultant to the World Wildlife Fund at its D.C. headquarters.
Over the course of a decade, Ambassador Moussa also lived and worked in three American cities: Boston, Washington and Phoenix. He returns to the United States after a two-decade career in public service, which included five years as a deputy in the Gabonese National Assembly, where he served as spokesman for the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs and defense. Ambassador Moussa also served as special advisor to the president of Gabon; chief of staff to the minister of national defense; diplomatic counselor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; head of the Department of Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Sports; and chief of the information technology division of the Department of Communication in the Office of the President. In addition to his work with the World Wildlife Fund, Ambassador Moussa has also been a teaching assistant in the African Studies Center at Boston University; research assistant at the Center for International Relations at Boston University, studying the economies of the Pacific Rim; a consultant at JSI/World Education, where he evaluated the BAND AID/LIVE AID philanthropic projects; and a consultant at IFESH (International Foundation for Education and Self-Help) in Phoenix, where he worked on the first African American Summit held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. He is also the founder of two small consulting businesses in Gabon, MS Consulting and LOCAT.
Ambassador Moussa is married and the father of six children, including three attending colleges in the United States. His predecessor, Carlos Victor Boungou, was appointed Gabon’s ambassador to South Korea.
Nirupama Rao became ambassador of India to the United States on Sept. 9, 2011, having most recently served as India’s foreign secretary since 2009.
Ambassador Rao — who joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973 — also previously served in Washington, D.C., as minister in charge of press affairs at the Indian Embassy from 1993 to 1995. In addition, she has had extensive experience in India-China relations, having served in the East Asia Division of the Ministry of External Affairs from 1984 to 1992, including as Joint Secretary of East Asia. Other postings including ambassador to Peru with concurrent accreditation to Bolivia (1995-98), deputy chief of mission at the Indian Embassy in Moscow (1998-99), the first woman spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (2001-02), and head of the Administration and Personnel Division of the Ministry of External Affairs as additional secretary (2002-04). Ambassador Rao was also a fellow at the Centre for International Affairs (now the Weatherhead Centre) of Harvard University from 1992 to 1993, and a distinguished international executive in residence at the University of Maryland in College Park from 1999 to 2000.
She is married to Shri Sudhakar Rao, a former member of the Indian Administrative Service who retired as chief secretary of the government of Karnataka, and they have two sons, Nikhilesh and Kartikeya.