March 11th, 2009
04:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama announces Iraq, Afghanistan ambassadors

(CNN) – President Obama nominated two seasoned veterans Wednesday to serve as U.S. ambassadors to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama announced that Christopher Hill would be his nominee for U.S. ambassador to Iraq, while Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry was picked as his U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

“These extraordinarily accomplished individuals have served their country with great distinction, and they have each agreed to take on tough assignments,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

See official biographies of Hill and Eikenberry released by the White House

Christopher R. Hill, Nominee for Ambassador to Iraq

Christopher R. Hill is currently the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. 

Ambassador Hill is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service whose most recent assignment was as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea.  On February 14, 2005, he was named as the Head of the U.S. delegation to the Six-Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear issue.  Previously he has served as U.S. Ambassador to Poland (2000-2004), Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia (1996-1999) and Special Envoy to Kosovo (1998-1999).  He also served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Southeast European Affairs in the National Security Council. Earlier in his Foreign Service career, Ambassador Hill served tours in Belgrade, Warsaw, Seoul, and Tirana, and on the Department of State's Policy Planning staff and in the Department’s Operation Center.  While on a fellowship with the American Political Science Association he served as a staff member for Congressman Stephen Solarz working on Eastern European issues.  He also served as the Department of State's Senior Country Officer for Poland.  Ambassador Hill received the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award for his contributions as a member of the U.S. negotiating team in the Bosnia peace settlement, and was a recipient of the Robert S. Frasure Award for Peace Negotiations for his work on the Kosovo crisis.  Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Hill served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon.

Ambassador Hill graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine with a B.A. in Economics.  He received a Master's degree from the Naval War College in 1994.  He speaks Polish, Serbo-Croatian, and Macedonian.

Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, Nominee for Ambassador to Afghanistan

Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry is the Deputy Chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium. His previous assignment was Commander of the Combined Forces Command – Afghanistan. Lieutenant General Eikenberry’s operational posts include service as commander and staff officer with mechanized, light, airborne, and ranger infantry units in the continental United States, Hawaii, Korea, and Italy.  He has served in various strategy, policy, and political-military positions, including: Director for Strategic Planning and Policy for U.S. Pacific Command; U.S. Security Coordinator and Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation in Kabul, Afghanistan; Assistant Army and later Defense Attaché at the United States Embassy in Beijing, China; Senior Country Director for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia in the Office of the Secretary of Defense; and Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy on the Army Staff.

Lieutenant General Eikenberry is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, has earned master’s degrees from Harvard University in East Asian Studies and from Stanford University in Political Science, and was a National Security Fellow at the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He earned an Interpreter’s Certificate in Mandarin Chinese from the British Foreign Commonwealth Office while studying at the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence Chinese Language School in Hong Kong and he has an Advanced Degree in Chinese History from Nanjing University in the People’s Republic of China.  Lieutenant General Eikenberry’s military awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished and Superior Service Medals, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Ranger Tab, Combat and Expert Infantryman badges, and master parachutist wings. He has received the Department of State Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards, Director of Central Intelligence Award, Canadian Meritorious Service Cross, Czech Republic Meritorious Cross, Hungarian Alliance Medal, French Legion of Honor, and Afghanistan’s Ghazi Amir Amanullah Khan and Akbar Khan Medals.  He is married to Ching Eikenberry.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Iraq
soundoff (One Response)
  1. rob verdi

    what about Zinni?

    March 11, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |