In February 2021, the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs will highlight Black Americans in our bureau who are advancing U.S. foreign policy and national security efforts in the United States and across Europe. Black History Month celebrates the contributions and honors the history of Black Americans in the United States. As the second largest minority group, Black Americans comprise 13.4% of the U.S. population. The idea for publicly recognizing the achievements of Black Americans began when Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1916. This organization created Negro History Week in February 1926 to share its research with the American public. In 1976, President Gerald Ford declared February as African American History month. Please check back here throughout the month for more bios of our outstanding EUR colleagues.
Tibebe Abebe has served at the U.S. Department of State since 2007, currently working as Technical Project Manager at the Information Management office the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. He has also served in the office of the Technology Division of International Security and Nonproliferation as a Development Team Lead.
Darion K. Akins
Darion K. Akins is a career Foreign Service Officer, who currently serves as Consul General in Hamburg, Germany. Although born in a rural town of 6,000 inhabitants in the Great State of Oklahoma, he calls Texas home. He solidified his Lone Star state status after graduating from Texas A&M University in College Station with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and Management. After 13 years of serving overseas in Malaysia, India, Afghanistan, Australia, and Indonesia, Darion returned to our nation’s capital to study at the National War College, where he earned a Master’s degree in National Security Strategy. Prior to joining the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer, Darion was an educator, a Peace Corps Volunteer, and a consultant at a private Japanese firm. His language experience is with German, Japanese, and ChiNyanja.
Daniela Ballard joined the Department of State in 2004 and currently is the Deputy Office Director of the European Bureau’s Office of European Union and Regional Affairs, providing economic policy analysis and advice. She has served overseas in Pakistan, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic and domestically in the Economic Bureau, the Bureau of International Organizations, and at the Foreign Service Institute. She was most recently a foreign policy fellow in the Office of Senator Christopher Coons. Prior to joining the Department of State, Daniela was an investment banker in New York and San Francisco working for Salomon Smith Barney and Bank of America Securities. Daniela received a Master of Science degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College in 2019. She is also a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where she received an MBA in Finance and holds a Master of Arts degree in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in Economics.
La June Barnes
La June Barnes joined the U.S. Department of State in 2009. She is a Political Officer passionate about building strong relationships and cross-cultural understanding. Currently, La June serves as the Deputy Political Chief and Political-Military Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest. Previously, she served as the Desk Officer for the Republic of Moldova, a Watch Officer in the Department’s Operations Center, as well as at the U.S. Embassies in Honduras and the Kyrgyz Republic. La June is a Jamaican American hailing from Long Island, NY.
Sophia Berhie joined the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer in 2016. She currently serves as a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen. She previously served in Mexico and within the Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs.
Omar Cardentey joined the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer in 2009. Born in Cuba, Omar and his family received refugee status from the United States when he was three years old. A Public Diplomacy coned officer, he is currently the Deputy Public Affairs Officer in The Hague, Netherlands. His other overseas assignments have included Ukraine, Iraq, the Philippines, and Djibouti, in addition to domestic work on the Counter-ISIL and Haiti Earthquake task forces. He speaks Russian, French, Spanish, and Dutch.
Nicholas T. Carter has worked at the U.S. Department of State since 2010 and is currently helping to protect U.S. diplomatic facilities, personnel, and information at U.S. Embassy Moscow, his eighth overseas post. He has served domestically in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs promoting U.S. interests in the region. He is a Veteran and first took his oath to protect the U.S. constitution in 1998.
Albert Cea has served at the U.S. Department of State since 2008 and he is currently the U.S. Consul at the U.S Consulate General in Naples, Italy. He served domestically in the Bureau of Consular Affairs and overseas in Venezuela, the Netherlands, and Mexico.
Donna Dunson has served at the U.S. Department of State since 2018, currently working as a Special Projects Coordinator in the Regional Security Office at U.S. Embassy Tbilisi. She has also served as a community volunteer at U.S. Embassy Budapest and as a Program Manager at U.S. Embassy Moscow. Her greatest joy is as a mother to her five children.
Gustav Goger has served at the U.S. Department of State since 1999, currently working as the Deputy Director of the Regional Support Center in Frankfurt, Germany. He started with the Department as a Presidential Management Intern in 1999 and joined the Foreign Service in 2001. He has served domestically in the Office of Foreign Missions and in the Executive Office of the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs. His overseas tours include Vietnam, Colombia, Afghanistan, Thailand, China and Myanmar.
Ambassador Dereck J. Hogan is a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service. He previously served as the Deputy Executive Secretary of the U.S. Department of State. Mr. Hogan also served as the Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’affaires in U.S. Embassy Baku, Azerbaijan. Mr. Hogan’s other senior positions in the U.S. State Department include Director of the Central European Affairs and Nordic and Baltic Affairs Offices and Senior Advisor to the President’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He previously served as the U.S. Department of State Representative on two civilian-military Provincial Reconstruction Teams in southern and eastern Afghanistan. His other overseas assignments include Russia, Belarus, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. In Washington, Mr. Hogan served as Special Assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell and a Watch Officer in the State Department’s Operations Center.
A recent returned Peace Corps Volunteer to the Republic of Moldova, Alexandra Kirk joined the Department of State in 2019 as a Civil Service Officer in the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy. Alexandra serves as a Grants Specialist and Foreign Assistance Coordinator to European Missions that receive assistance funding. Before State, Alexandra spent several years at the Department of the Treasury as a Financial Analyst and has an M.B.A from Trinity Washington University.
Kevin Moss from North Carolina has served as a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Department of State since 2016, currently working at the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey, as a political officer. He has previously served in the Caribbean and Middle East, and speaks Arabic, Turkish, French, and Farsi.
Norma Mozeé joined the U.S. Department of State in 2017 and currently serves as Vice Consul and American Citizen Services Unit Chief in U.S. Embassy Copenhagen, Denmark. In her prior assignment, she served as a Political Officer in U.S. Embassy Caracas, Venezuela, where she leveraged her Spanish language fluency and her private sector experience in the energy industry to develop people-to-people ties and advance U.S. policy objectives.
Krystle Norman is a Public Diplomacy Foreign Service Officer with a passion for leading strategic campaigns, building coalitions for change, and mentoring aspiring and entry-level diplomats. She currently serves as the Deputy Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Portugal managing the cultural, educational, and exchange portfolios. In her previous assignments, she served as Deputy Coordinator for Cultural Affairs Training at the Foreign Service Institute, as well as overseas at the U.S. Embassies in Barbados and the Dominican Republic. A native of Virginia, Krystle speaks Spanish and Portuguese fluently and has been a proud public servant for 10 years.
Miranda Patterson joined the U.S. Department of State in 2014. She currently serves as the Cultural Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna. She is excited to work in such a culturally rich city and enjoys being a part of such a talented team of fellow Americans and Austrians. She previously served in Islamabad, Pakistan and Mexico City, Mexico.
Malikat Rufai has served as a Foreign Service Officer at the Department of State since 2014. She is currently the North Macedonia Desk Officer in the Office of South Central Europe and the Professional Development Chair for the Pickering and Rangel Fellows Association (PRFA). She previously served as a Watch Officer in the Operations Center during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and as the Cultural Affairs Officer in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Foreign Service Specialist Dion Russell, from Massachusetts, has been a Special Agent with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security since 2011 and is currently serving as the Assistant Regional Security Officer for Investigations (ARSO-I) at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania. He joined the Department after teaching in Japan for seven years. He previously served at the Bridgeport Resident Office, U.S. Embassy Ulaanbaatar, as a Watch Officer at the Diplomatic Security Command Center (DSCC), and the New York Field Office. He speaks Japanese and Albanian.
Dionandrea “Dee” Shorts
Dionandrea “Dee” Shorts serves as the IO Advisor leading the IO Unit in the Political Section at U.S. Embassy in France. Previously, she was a Partnerships Advisor in the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships. She was a U.S. Negotiator at UN General Assembly 72 and at the March 2018 Session of the Human Rights Council. Also, she worked in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs’ Office of Transportation Policy as the liaison with Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, and Department of Transportation. She served as a Political Officer at the Consulate in Lahore, Pakistan. Ms. Shorts was the Regional Economic and Social Issues Officer in Western Hemispheres’ Central America Office and her first assignment was the Embassy in Lima, Peru as a Political Officer. Ms. Shorts received a M.A. in International Economics from the University of Denver, while there she was also the program assistant for the International Career Advancement Program. She has a B.S. in Economics and B.A. in Political Science from Howard University. Ms. Shorts is a proud Rangel Fellow.
Alexandra Sweeney has served at the U.S. Department of State since 2015, currently working as an Information Management Specialist (IMS) in Belgrade, Serbia. Before that, she worked as an Information Systems Officer (ISO) in Maputo, Mozambique, and as an Information Management Specialist (IMS) in Cairo, Egypt. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Alexandra was a contractor for four years supporting the U.S. Secretary of State on the Information Resource Management team (S/ES IRM).
Christina Tilghman joined the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer in 2010. Currently, she serves as the Senior Advisor for Diversity and Inclusion in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. Most recently, she worked as the Senior Public Diplomacy Advisor for the Global Health Diplomacy Office under the Secretary’s Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. Her previous overseas assignments include Canada and South Africa. She has served domestically in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, Bureau of International Information Programs, National Security Council at the White House, and Bureau of African Affairs. Christina attended Hampton University for her bachelor’s degree and earned a Master of Public Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a 2006 Thomas R. Pickering Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellow, 2017 USC Public Diplomacy Summer Institute participant, 2018 International Career Advancement Program Fellow, and Council on Foreign Relations Term Member.
Megan Walton has served in the U.S. Department of State since 2008. Currently posted in Chisinau, Moldova, her foreign assignments include Bern, Switzerland; Gaborone, Botswana; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Domestically, she has served as a Watch Officer in the State Department Operations Center.