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John L. Withers II was confirmed by the Senate as United States Ambassador to Albania on June 28, 2007. Before receiving this appointment, Dr. Withers served as the Director of the Operations Center at the U.S. Department of State from 2003 to 2005, and as Director of the Office of North Central European Affairs from 2001 to 2002. Ambassador Withers was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Riga, Latvia from 1997-2000. He served as Special Assistant to the Office of the Deputy Secretary from 1993-1996.
Amb. Withers began his career in the Foreign Service in 1984. He served at the U.S. Embassy at The Hague as Political Officer from 1985 to 1986; in the Office of Chinese Affairs, as Desk Officer from 1986 to 1988; and as a Political Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria from 1988 to 1990. From 1991 to 1993, he served as Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and in the Office of Northern European Affairs on the Ireland and Iceland desks for a brief time in 1993.
Amb. Withers holds a Ph.D. from Yale University in Modern Chinese history, an M.A. in East Asian Studies from McGill University, a B.A. from Harvard University in history, and has also completed graduate-level research at Nanjing University, China. He has studied Chinese, Russian, Dutch, French and Latvian.
The son of former USAID Director, John L. Withers, Sr., Amb. Withers spent much of his childhood overseas in Laos, Thailand, Burma, Korea, Ethiopia and Kenya.