Ambassador James C. Swan was confirmed by the Senate as United States Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in August 2013 and began his appointment during September 2013. He previously served as the United States Special Representative for Somalia from August 2011 to July 2013, leading U.S. diplomatic, security, and stabilization initiatives that culminated in U.S. recognition of a Somali government for the first time in more than two decades.
Ambassador Swan has devoted most of his Foreign Service career to Africa, focusing on countries facing complex political transitions in challenging security environments. As Ambassador to Djibouti (2008-2011), he led a significant increase in the U.S.-Djibouti security partnership, while also expanding assistance to the health, education, and governance sectors.
Prior to his assignment to Djibouti, Ambassador Swan served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (2006-2008), with broad responsibility for U.S. policies and programs in 23 central and east African countries. Previously, as Director of Africa Analysis in the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2005-2006), Ambassador Swan led a team of intelligence analysts who produced assessments of significant developments throughout sub-Saharan Africa for senior U.S. policy officials.
As Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa (2001-2004), Ambassador Swan advanced negotiations aimed at the withdrawal of foreign forces and an agreement on an internal political framework for elections. As part of his long professional involvement with the Congo, Ambassador Swan was also Zaire/Congo country officer in Washington (1996-1998), serving as focal point during the rebellion that led to the fall of Mobutu Sese Seko after 32 years in power and the difficult first year of its successor regime. Ambassador Swan served as Deputy Chief of Mission and for more than a year Charge d’Affaires in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo (1998-2001) leading efforts to resume U.S. diplomatic operations and mobilize humanitarian response in the aftermath of a brutal civil conflict.
Earlier in his career, Ambassador Swan served as political section chief in Cameroon (1992-1994), political officer in Nicaragua (1990-1992), and consular officer in Haiti (1988-89). Before joining the Foreign Service, he worked as a management analyst in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.
Ambassador Swan holds a B.Sc. degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and a master’s in National Security Studies from the National Defense University’s National War College, where he was a 2005 distinguished graduate.