Thursday, May 28, 2009

Officially In: Robert S. Connan to Reykjavik

On May 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Robert S. Connan, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Iceland.

Mr. Connan has served as Minister Consular for Commercial Affairs to the US Mission to the European Union since September 2008. Mr. Connan began his international career in the private sector. In 1980, he entered the U.S. Commercial Service. His first assignment was Commercial Officer in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, followed by Johannesburg, South Africa. He was Senior Commercial Officer (SCO) in Algiers and then Stockholm, Sweden. Next, he was assigned as SCO in Kuwait from 1991 to 1992, right after the end of the Gulf War, to rebuild the Commercial Section. In 1992, he was assigned as SCO in Seoul, Korea, where he went on special detail to Beijing China as acting SCO for the first Secretary Commerce trade mission into China. From 1996 to 2000, he served as SCO in Rome, Italy. From 2000 to 2004, he was Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs for Australia and New Zealand, at the American Consulate General in Sydney. During this period, Mr. Connan also served in Baghdad, Iraq from 2003 to 2004, setting up the Iraqi Business Center as part of the reconstruction process. From 2004 to 2008, he was the Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs in Paris, France. Mr. Connan holds a Bachelors of Science from Carnegie Mellon University and earned his MBA from University of Pennsylvania.

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If confirmed, Robert Connan will succeed career diplomat Carol Van Voorst in Reykjavik. I should note that five of the last seven ambassadors assigned to Iceland in the last 20 years have been career diplomats. The last non-career appointee to this position was Sigmund A. Rogich of Nevada who served from Jun 4, 1992- Oct 14, 1993. on Robert S. Connan: "Working for the U.S. Commercial Service within the Department of Commerce since 1980, Connan has not made any contributions exceeding $200 to federal candidates, committees or parties. His most recent position has been with the European Union, and he has been nominated to be the ambassador to Iceland."

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