United States new Ambassador to Ethiopia, Patricia Haslach, has arrived here last week, taking over the mantle from her predecessor, Donald Booth. The latter, who had served his country as an ambassador for three years since 2009, has been appointed by President Barack Obama as his personal envoy to resolve the dispute between the Sudan and the breakaway South Sudan.
Ambassador Haslach is a career diplomat whose confirmation by the US Senate was confirmed in July 2013. She was a principal deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s bureau of Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. Although she was born inRockville Center,New York, in 1956, Haslach grew up inOregonwhere her family had moved in 1971.
Haslach has graduated in political science from theGonzagaUniversity, in 1978 and followed her post graduate studies in international affairs atColumbiaUniversity, where she has graduated in 1981. Her first assignment after she joined the federal government in 1986 was an agricultural attaché with the Foreign Agricultural Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, assigned toIndiafrom 1987 to 1990. She has also served inJakarta,Indonesia, inLagos,Nigeria, and inIslamabad,Pakistan.
Haslach was responsible to oversee a multibillion dollar reconstruction program her country carried out inAfghanistan, where she was posted as director of the Office of Afghanistan Reconstruction, in 2002. Her first post as an ambassador was toLaos, in 2004, and to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, headquartered inSingapore, in 2007.
A mother of two, Haslach wants to devote her tenure in Addis Abeba pushing the Administration of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to have, “commitment to human rights; liberalization of the economy; and transparent and inclusive political process” are central to the two countries’ future.
“I’ll press the government ofEthiopiato respect rights of all its citizens regardless of ethnicity, clan, political views or religious affiliation,” Haslach told US Senate Committee of Foreign Relations, in July 2013. “I’ll work with the government to open political space, and advance reforms that promote freedom of expression, association, and the rule of law.”
Although her first official undertaking was to attend a Peace Corp event held inside the Embassy last week, she has yet to handover her credentials to President Girma W. Giorgis before carrying out her official duties.