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Biden nominates Indian-origin diplomat as US ambassador to Indonesia

Washington: Indian-origin diplomat Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir has been appointed by President Joe Biden as US Ambassador to Indonesia.

Lakhdhir, who has served the State Department for almost 30 years, is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, and was most recently Executive Secretary of the Department of State, the White House said.

Her father, Noor, immigrated to the US from Mumbai to attend the University of California, Berkeley in the 1940s.

A Harvard graduate and an M.S. from the National War College, Lakhdhir had formerly served as an ambassador to Malaysia from 2017 to 2021.

Prior to that, Lakhdhir served as US Consul General in Belfast, Northern Ireland from 2009 to 2011.

She joined the Foreign Service in 1991 and has served as Director of the Office of Maritime Southeast Asian Affairs, which includes responsibility for US relations with Indonesia.

Early in her career, she was Deputy Coordinator of the Taiwan Coordination Staff in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Her other overseas assignments included China, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia, the statement added.

Lakhdir grew up in Westport, Connecticut, and was inspired to pursue an international career because of her parents, she said in an interview published in the National Museum of American Diplomacy.

She said her “international career began as a child” due to her parents’ rich international background and family trips abroad.

These experiences encouraged Lakhdhir to begin her career overseas as a teacher in China for two years after graduating from Harvard College in 1986.

(Published 22 October 2023, 11:00 IST)

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