United States Ambassador to the Republic of Niger
The Deputy Secretary of State for the United States administered the oath of office to Eric Whitaker in a December 15, 2017 ceremony at the Department. Ambassador Whitaker is a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service with 27 years of experience. Ambassador Whitaker joined the Bureau of African Affairs Front Office as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary in January 2017 with East African Affairs, Sudan, and South Sudan portfolios. His previous position was Director of East African Affairs.
From October 2012-2014, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassy N’Djamena, Chad, before returning to the Department of State. Prior to that, he served as Foreign Policy Advisor (POLAD) to the U.S. military in Djibouti, and as Counselor for Economic Affairs at Embassy Nairobi, Kenya. From 2008-2010, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission and then as Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Niamey, Niger. Ambassador Whitaker also served as an Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team (E-PRT) Leader in Baghdad, Iraq, heading an eight-member team composed of State, USAID, and DoD civilians.
Ambassador Whitaker has a BS in biology and an MS in community health education from the University of Illinois, a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master of Public Policy degree from the Wilson School at Princeton University. Prior to the Foreign Service, he served as a Community Health Development Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines and as Assistant to the City Manager for the City of Lodi, California.
Ambassador Whitaker speaks Portuguese, Spanish, French, Visayan, and Korean, and has received eleven Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards, as well as the Department of Defense Meritorious Civilian Honor Award.