Dirk Wouters became ambassador of Belgium to the United States on Sept. 16, 2016. Ambassador Wouters’s diplomatic career spans four decades and has included both multilateral and bilateral assignments, primarily focused on European affairs. Prior to his appointment in D.C., Ambassador Wouters served as permanent representative of Belgium to the European Union (2011-16). Before that, as chief of staff to the minister of foreign affairs, Ambassador Wouters was one of the main architects of the Belgian EU Presidency, which undertook key foreign policy decisions on Afghanistan and Libya. From 2009 to 2011, he was diplomatic advisor and sherpa in the office of Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy. Earlier in his career, Ambassador Wouters was permanent representative of Belgium to the Political and Security Committee of the EU (2003-09), at a time when the common foreign and security policy was framed under the leadership of Javier Solana. He was also directly involved in several negotiations on revising the European Treaties (Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon) and assisted Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene as vice president of the convention on the future of the European Union (2000-02). Ambassador Wouters is no stranger to the United States, having lived in New York while deputy permanent representative of Belgium to the United Nations (1995-2000). While at the U.N., he was involved in the establishment of the International Criminal Court. He was also posted twice in Rome and speaks fluent Italian in addition to English, Dutch, French and German. Ambassador Wouters has a background in law and economics and obtained degrees from the University of Antwerp; the University of Louvain; the London School of Economics and Political Science; and the Institute of Higher Studies in Geneva. He has been invited to lecture at the Catholic University of Leuven; the Catholic University of Louvain-La-Neuve; the University of Brussels; and the Paris Institute of Political Studies (IEP). Born in 1955, Ambassador Wouters is married to Katrin Van Bragt and they have one daughter and two grandsons. He is an accomplished long-distance runner and an Italian culture enthusiast.
Georgi Ovcharov assumed the position of first secretary/police liaison on Aug. 8, replacing Ivan Auchev, who departed the post Aug. 20. Ovcharov previously served in the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior in the Chief Directorate for Combating Organized Crime.
Stefka Yovcheva assumed the position of first secretary on Aug. 15, replacing Lyubomire Georgieva, who departed the post Aug. 14.
Sergio Silva Do Amaral became ambassador of Brazil to the United States on Sept. 16, 2016. As a career diplomat, he has been posted to Paris, Bonn, Geneva and Washington. He was also ambassador of Brazil to the United Kingdom and France. Ambassador Amaral, who was born in São Paulo, previously served in various high-level positions in the Brazilian government, including vice minister for the environment, secretary of social communication and spokesman for President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. He was also minister of development, industry and foreign trade, as well as chairman of the Foreign Trade Council of Ministers (CAMEX) and the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES). In addition, Ambassador Amaral was debt negotiator for Brazil at the Bank Advisory Committee and the Paris Club; alternate governor to the IMF and the World Bank; and alternate representative of Brazil to the GATT during the Uruguay Round negotiations. More recently, Ambassador Amaral was the chairman of the Brazil-China Business Council; director of the Center for American Studies at FAAP; member of the Strategic Council of the Industry Federation of São Paulo; and counselor at Felsberg and Associates, a law firm. He was a member of the board of WWF Brazil; the managing board of AES Eletropaulo and AES Tietê; and counselor to the International Board of Total and Plastic Omnium in France. He received a law degree at the University of São Paulo and later a diploma of superior studies in political science (DESS) at the University of Paris I (Panthéon Sorbonne). He was also assistant professor of international relations at the University of Brasilia. Ambassador Amaral is divorced and has four children. He speaks six languages and has been awarded several Brazilian and foreign decorations.
Andris Teikmanis became ambassador of Latvia to the United States on Sept. 16, 2016, having previously served as ambassador to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, as well as nonresident ambassador to Australia and New Zealand, since 2013. He also held numerous top postings in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including secretary of state (2008-13); ambassador of Latvia to Russia (2005-08); undersecretary of state (2002-05); and ambassador to Germany (1998-2002). In addition, he was ambassador of Latvia (1995-98) and ambassador-at-large (1994-95) to the Council of Europe and a member of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia (1990-93), which on May 4, 1990, signed the declaration of Latvia’s independence. Other postings include chairman of the Riga City Council (1990-94), a judge in the Kirov District Court in Riga (1988-90) and an investigator with the Riga City Police Board (1983-88). Ambassador Teikmanis earned a law degree from Latvian State University and has studied at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Germany. He speaks English, German, French and Russian and is married with two children. Hobbies include opera, theater, jogging and cycling.
Kurt Jaeger became ambassador of Liechtenstein to the United States on Sept. 16, 2016, having previously served as ambassador to the European Union and Belgium from 2010 to 2016. He has over 25 years of professional experience in international regulatory affairs, of which 15 years were spent in the airline industry and civil aviation administration. Prior to his ambassadorial posting, from 2005 to 2010, he was elected one of three members of the Board of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Surveillance Authority in charge of monitoring and enforcing the application of EU law in the European Economic Area. Ambassador Jaeger’s academic career includes a degree acquired in 1987 from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and an LL.M. in 1989 from McGill University in Montreal. After his postgraduate studies, during which he also worked as a research fellow in public international law at Fribourg University, he joined the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Aviation for six years, where he was first in charge of international air transport regulation and policy and later became executive assistant to the director-general for civil aviation. Ambassador Jaeger subsequently switched to the private sector, taking on positions in a private law practice in Liechtenstein. He then became secretary of the board of directors and general counsel of the Swiss regional air carrier Crossair. Later, he served as vice president for international corporate affairs for an airline IT company and finally as vice president for aero-political affairs at Swiss International Air Lines, where he was responsible for regulatory matters as well as industry and political relations. In this capacity, he took on a leading role in the legal structuring of the business transfer from the defunct Swissair in 2001/2002 and then of the airline’s merger with Lufthansa in 2005. Upon completion of the merger in 2010, he was appointed to the position of ambassador to the EU and Belgium. His main responsibilities were the representation of his country toward the EU in institutions of the EEA and the Schengen Agreement.
Sylvie Lucas became ambassador of Luxembourg to the United States on Sept. 16, 2016, replacing Jean-Louis Wolzfeld, who departed the post July 5 to retire from the Foreign Service. Ambassador Lucas most recently served as Luxembourg’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York since 2011.
Veronique Dockendorf assumed the position of deputy chief of mission on Aug. 10, replacing Olivier Baldauff, who departed the post Aug. 9 to become deputy director of political affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dockendorf previously served as deputy director of political affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2012-16) and first secretary at the Permanent Mission of Luxembourg to the United Nations (2011-12).
Stan Myck assumed the position of counselor/consul on Sept. 1, having previously served in the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Luxembourg Embassy in Lisbon and the Permanent Mission of Luxembourg to the United Nations.
Carlos Jose Pareja Rios became ambassador of Peru to the United States on Sept. 16, 2016, having previously served as director-general of Peru’s Directorate General of Africa, Middle East and Gulf Countries since 2015 and, before that, director-general of Peru’s Directorate General of America from 2014 to 2015. Ambassador Pareja also served as Peru’s ambassador to Chile (2009-14); chief of state protocol in Lima (2006-09); ambassador to Switzerland (2003-05); ambassador to Spain (2000-02); and national director of the Directorate General of Sovereignty and Border Development, participating in peace negotiations with Ecuador, among other duties (1998-2000). In addition, he was chief of cabinet for the vice minister of foreign affairs (1997-98); minister-counselor in the Embassy of Peru in Santiago (1993-97); director for South American affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1990-93); and political counselor at the Peruvian Embassy in Washington, D.C. (1984-90). Ambassador Pareja holds a bachelor’s of law degree from the Universidad de San Martin de Porres, a master’s in diplomacy and foreign relations from the Diplomatic Academy of Peru, a law studies degree from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and a bachelor’s of arts from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. He speaks Spanish, English and intermediate French and is married to Consuelo Salinas and has two children, Juan (1981) and Jose (1985).
Houssem Abbes assumed the position of press attaché on Aug. 15.