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Picture of W. Stuart SymingtonBIOGRAPHY

W. Stuart Symington
Ambassador, Djibouti
Term of Appointment: 08/18/2006 to 08/23/2008

Mr. Symington was raised in Missouri, earned a bachelor's degree from Brown University and a Juris Doctorate from Columbia University. He clerked for the Chief Judge of the Eastern District of Missouri, then litigated and practiced corporate law in New York, London, Paris, and St. Joseph, Missouri, before becoming a Foreign Service Officer in 1986. He began his diplomatic career by tracking protests and politics in Honduras. He moved to Spain and worked on economic issues before serving as the Ambassador's aide during Desert Shield and Storm.

In Mexico, Mr. Symington cultivated the political opposition, worked anti-drug issues, helped congressional visitors looking at NAFTA, and reported from Chiapas during the Zapatista revolt. At the State Department, he worked for the Under Secretary for Political Affairs on Latin American and African issues, backing up as his aide for Bosnia. During a yearlong Pearson Fellowship, he served on the staff of Congressman Ike Skelton studying U.S. military joint operations and education. He later traveled to Sudan and North Korea on teams negotiating to free American captives before finishing the year as an aide to the U.S. permanent representative to the UN. As a political officer in Ecuador, he forged ties to the political opposition, indigenous leaders, military commanders, and other government and private sector leaders. Mr. Symington joined efforts to end the century-old Peru/Ecuador border conflict; helped negotiate the agreement establishing an anti-drug Forward Operating Location; after protests toppled Ecuador's president, pressed for a return to civilian rule.

On September 3, 2001, he began service as Deputy Chief of Mission in Niger, West Africa. As Charge' d'affaires, a.i. on 9/11, and later as DCM, he dealt with military mutinies, terrorist threats, and civil unrest; mounted an outreach effort to Muslim leaders, fostered anti-terrorism cooperation, and buttressed Niger's democracy by supportive high-level USG visits and a key food security program. He then returned to the State Department as the Deputy Director of West African Affairs in the Africa Bureau, working on the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative, humanitarian and development issues, and challenges to security and democratic stability.

From October 2004 to February 2005, Mr. Symington worked for Ambassador Negroponte in Iraq on the election process and political issues, managing pre-election political reporting from around the country and visiting reporting officers in six of our ten regional offices during the run-up to the election. On Election Day, January 30, 2005, he was based in Baqubah and observed voting there and in other cities of Diyala province in the Sunni Triangle.

Mr. Symington taught at National Defense University's Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk and working with military officer students and staff to see how America's diplomats and warriors can cooperate best to advance U.S. interests abroad. On August 18, 2006, he was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti.



Released on September 6, 2006

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