REPORT FOR THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
SUBJECT: Ambassadorial Nomination: Certificate of
Demonstrated Competence -- Foreign Service
Act, Section 304(a)(4)
POST: Republic of Azerbaijan
CANDIDATE: Robert Francis Cekuta
Robert Francis Cekuta, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Energy Resources of the Department of State. A talented leader and expert manager, Mr. Cekuta has developed deep energy expertise and broad expertise in fostering democratic and free market reforms, which are key policy issues in Azerbaijan. He played a critical senior management role in establishing the new Energy Bureau, where he developed programs advancing global energy security, while overseeing initiatives to fight corruption and build good governance and accountability in oil and gas production.
Previously, Mr. Cekuta served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy, Sanctions, and Commodities, Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs (2010-2011), Senior Advisor for Food Security, Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs (2010-2010), Senior Deputy Coordinating Director for Economic and Development Affairs, Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan (2009-2010), Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs, Embassy Tokyo, Japan (2007-2009), Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs, Embassy Berlin, Germany (2003-2007), Director, Iraq Economic Group, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (2002-2003), Special Negotiator for Biotechnology, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (2002), Director, Economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (2000-2002), Senior Advisor, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (1999-2000), and Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy Tirana, Albania (1996-1999). In addition, he directed a Kosovo task force and served earlier in his career in the Bureau of Near East and South Asian Affairs. Overseas, he also served in U.S. Missions in Vienna, Baghdad, Johannesburg, and Sana’a, Yemen.
Mr. Cekuta earned a BSFS from Georgetown University, Washington in 1976, a Master’s Degree at Thunderbird School of Global Management, Glendale, Arizona in 1978 and a Master’s Degree at the National Defense University, Washington, D.C. in 1994. He is the recipient of numerous awards from the Department of State, including eight Senior Performance Awards, four Superior Honor Awards and five Meritorious Honor Awards. He speaks German, Albanian and Arabic.