Ambassador Vicki Huddleston is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. She is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa and a four time Chief of United States Missions in Latin America and Africa. She was U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar and Mali and acting Ambassador in Ethiopia. She was Chief of Mission at the United States Interests Section in Havana and Director and Deputy Director of Cuban Affairs at the Department of State. Prior to joining the Department of Defense she was a Visiting Scholar at Brookings Institution.
In Ethiopia Vicki advanced democracy by initiating a dialogue between the Government and opposition parties, and was instrumental in formulating American policy toward Ethiopia and Somalia. In Mali she advocated countering terrorist movements in the Sahara by helping isolated villagers build wells, schools and clinics. In Madagascar her environmental programs resulted in the establishment of Masuelo National Park. While Deputy Assistant Secretary she formulated policies that contributed to the peace settlement in Sierra Leone.
As our chief diplomat in Havana she established an “Outreach” program that through engagement and contact help created the conditions for the “Cuban Spring” of 2002. While Deputy Chief of Mission in Haiti she acted as operational liaison during the 1994 deployment of U.S. and Multinational Forces.
In the late 1980’s, as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow on the staff of Senator Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, she drafted the “Missile Technology Control Regime,” the principal legislation regulating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Prior to entering the diplomatic service Vicki worked for the American Institute for Free Labor Development in Peru and Brazil. She began her public career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru.
Vicki was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she organized a seminar on “Perceptions of U.S. Policy in Developing Countries”. She has been a featured speaker at Harvard’s Rockefeller and Kennedy Centers, the Commonwealth Club, and various International Affairs Councils throughout the United States. She has published opinion pieces in major newspapers on Ethiopia, Somalia, and Cuba. She is a commentator for major news networks. She is a commentator on NBC, ABC, BBC, and NPR.
Vicki has a M.A. degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. from the University of Colorado, where she gave the first Distinguished Alumni plenary speech at its 57th World Affairs Conference. She has received the Department of State’s Distinguished Honor Award, the President’s Meritorious Service Award, and the Secretary’s Career Achievement Award.
Articles by Ambassador Huddleston: