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 Suriname
CANDIDATE: Karen Lynn Williams
Karen Williams, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, has been Senior Advisor in the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs since 2016. She has more than 25 years of experience in the Foreign Service with overseas postings in Afghanistan, South America, Central Asia, and Europe as well as senior domestic posts in the Counterterrorism Bureau and as Foreign Policy Advisor to U.S. Special Operations Command, Tampa, Florida. Her considerable experience with South American and Caribbean issues – including as Deputy Chief of Mission (and Chargé for an extended period) in U.S. Embassy Georgetown, Guyana, and as Deputy Director of the Office of Caribbean Affairs (which includes Suriname) in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs – provide her deep insight into substantive regional policy issues. This knowledge, coupled with her demonstrated leadership and management abilities and keen understanding of the security and operational challenges our Embassies face, make her an excellent candidate to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Suriname.
Among her other assignments in the State Department and USIA, Ms. Williams was the Transition Director for the U.S. Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan, and Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy Asuncion, Paraguay. She was Cultural Affairs Officer and then Information Officer at the U.S. Embassy Almaty, Kazakhstan. Before joining the Foreign Service in 1991, Ms. Williams was Managing Editor, Atwood Convention Publishing in Kansas City, MO, and Editor-in-Chief of the Springfield Business Journal in Springfield, MO.
Ms. Williams earned her B.A. from Drury College, Springfield, Missouri, and an M.S. from the National War College, Washington, D.C. She is the recipient of several notable State Department awards as well as the U.S. Special Operations Command Outstanding Civilian Service Medal and a National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation from ODNI. She speaks Spanish, Russian and Bosnian.