Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir, a career Foreign Service Officer, has served in the Department of State for almost 30 years. Most recently, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia (from 2017 until 2021). Before that Ms. Lakhdhir served as the Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, and from 2009 through 2011 she served as the U.S. Consul General in Northern Ireland.
Joining the Foreign Service in 1991, Ms. Lakhdhir first served at the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia and then at the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia. Returning to Washington in 1996, she was assigned to the Secretary of State’s Secretariat (“the Line”), serving two Secretaries of State. From 1998 through 2000, she was the Taiwan Coordination Staff’s deputy coordinator and then was a Pearson Fellow, serving on the staff of the House Subcommittee on Asia and the House Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade. From 2001-2005, Ms. Lakhdhir was posted to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and then served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (2005-2006). From 2007-2009, Ms. Lakhdhir was the Director of the Office of Maritime Southeast Asia in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, which is responsible for U.S. relations with the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, and Timor-Leste.
Ms. Lakhdhir graduated from Harvard College in 1986, and in 2007 received a Master’s degree from the National War College. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she grew up in Brooklyn and Connecticut.