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 Burundi
CANDIDATE: Melanie Harris Higgins
Melanie Harris Higgins, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Counselor, has served as the Director of the Office of Central African Affairs in the U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., since 2018. She previously served as Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland, New Zealand and prior to that as the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. In these positions Ms. Higgins has demonstrated strong policy making, leadership and management skills. This background, complemented by the considerable and diverse experience she has gained in three geographic bureaus over the course of two decades of service, makes her well-qualified to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Burundi.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Higgins served as the Deputy Political Counselor and Unit Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. Prior to that, in Washington, she was the Acting Director and Acting Public Affairs Advisor for the Office of Public Affairs of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. She also held an assignment as the Thailand Desk Officer in the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau’s Office of Mainland Southeast Asia. Other postings included being seconded to the Office of the High Representative, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; and assignment as a Watch Officer in the State Department Operations Center and at the U.S. Embassies in Australia and Cameroon.
Ms. Higgins earned a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD in 1995 and was awarded an M.A. from the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, D.C. in 1996. She was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society in 1994. She is the recipient of numerous senior State Department awards as well as the Sinclaire Language Award from the American Foreign Service Association. She speaks French, Indonesian, and Bosnian.