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 Malawi
CANDIDATE: Virginia Evelyn Palmer
Virginia Evelyn Palmer, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, a position she has held since 2011. Ms. Palmer’s recent experience in developmental issues in a variety of African and Asian countries, in particular her expertise in building democracy, encouraging economic growth and improving governance, provides an ideal background to serve as Chief of Mission in Malawi.
Previously, Ms. Palmer served as Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassy Hanoi, Vietnam (2008-2011). Before that she was the Department of State’s Deputy Coordinator for Counter Terrorism (2005-2008) and Director for Economic Policy in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (2004-2005). She served as Economic Counselor (2002-2004) and Regional Labor Officer (2001-2002) at U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Kenya. Ms. Palmer also served as Political Officer at U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong (1998-2001), and as Political Officer at U.S. Embassy Harare, Zimbabwe (1993-1997). She was Libya Desk Officer in the Department’s Bureau for Near Eastern Affairs in 1992, and a Watch Officer in the Department’s Operations Center (1991-1992). Other assignments with the Department have included serving as Economic Officer at U.S. Embassy Beijing, China (1989-1991) and Consular Officer at U.S. Consulate Calgary, Canada (1987-1988).
Ms. Palmer earned a B.A. from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in 1983 and an M.A. from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1986. She is the recipient of two Department of State Senior Performance Awards, two Superior Honor Awards, and three Meritorious Honor Awards. She speaks French and Chinese.