Monday, June 29, 2009

Officially In: Judith G. Garber to Riga

On June 25, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Judith G. Garber to be Ambassador to the Republic of Latvia. The WH released the following official bio:

Judith Garber currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs at the Department of State. A career Foreign Service Officer, she joined the Foreign Service in 1984. Her previous diplomatic assignments include Economic Counselor in Madrid, Spain, Deputy Economic Counselor in Tel Aviv, Israel, Economic Officer in Prague, Czech Republic, Economic Officer in Mexico City, Mexico, and Vice Consul in Seville, Spain.

Ms. Garber’s Washington assignments include Director for North Central Europe in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Director for Overseas Development Finance in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, and the Department’s Executive Secretariat staff. Ms. Garber holds a Bachelor of Science from Georgetown University.

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If confirmed, Ms. Garber would replace Charles W. 'Chuck' Larson, Jr., a former Iowa State Senator and chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, who was appointed US Ambassador to Latvia during George W. Bush’s second term. Except for the first US Ambassador to Latvia in 1922 and the last two US Ambassadors who were political appointees, career diplomats had been appointed ambassador to Riga since 1931.

Related Item: President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-25-09

3 comments:

Leslie said...

Does Ms. Garber speak Latvian?

diplopundit said...

Hi Leslie - frankly I don't know. Since she served previously as Vice Consul in Seville and later served in Mexico City and Madrid, I am guessing that she had Spanish language training to get off the language probation. (Officers that need to get off the language probation tend to bid on language-designated positions so they can get language training and get tested, fulfilling the language requirement for tenure.) Nothing in her previous assignments indicate if she had Latvian/Lettish or any Baltic language training.

Aris said...

I can tell you that Ambassador J. Garber has evidently had Latvian language training and she is still seriously mastering the language in Riga. Having an opportunity to interview the Ambassador, I found that she showed interest about formation of complicated Latvian expressions and has showed up to the best advantage.