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Former U.S. Ambassadors to Slovenia

2019-2021 Ambassador Lynda C. Blanchard

Ambassador Lynda C. Blanchard
Ambassador Lynda C. Blanchard

Lynda Gaye Cleveland “Lindy” Blanchard is a successful business executive and international humanitarian. Ms. Blanchard co-founded and was the former CEO of the 100X Development Foundation, created in 2004 in Montgomery, Alabama to foster creative solutions to eradicate poverty and its negative effects improving the lives of children around the world. Concurrently, she co-founded and was the Senior Advisor at B & M Management Company, a real estate investment management company valued at over $1 billion.

A skilled leader and strategic manager, Ms. Blanchard is a passionate advocate for children’s issues internationally and domestically. She has worked in Africa, Asia and South America engaging with local partners to further 100X’s mission resulting in innovative partnerships to establish orphanages, sustainable development programs, and food production companies that have improved the lives of thousands of families in 16 countries. As former CEO of 100X, Ms. Blanchard was actively involved in shaping and approving the goals and priorities of each of the Foundation’s programs.

An esteemed leader and advocate for people with special needs for more than 20 years, Ms. Blanchard has served on the advisory board for the Montgomery Area Nontraditional Equestrians, a non-profit organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding opportunities to people with emotional, physical, cognitive, and developmental disabilities. Ms. Blanchard has voluntarily served on the Boards and otherwise supported numerous other education programs in Alabama and has worked to help families who are interested in adoption.

Ms. Blanchard is mom to seven and an international adoptive parent. She earned a B.S. in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science from Auburn University, learning five computer languages. She is the recipient of many international and domestic awards recognizing her humanitarian contributions. She speaks basic Spanish.

2015-2018 Ambassador Brent R. Hartley

Ambassador Brent R. Hartley
Ambassador Brent R. Hartley

Brent Hartley, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was confirmed by the Senate on November 20, 2014, to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia.  He was sworn in on January 16, 2015, and presented his credentials in Ljubljana on February 12, 2015.

He served most recently as Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs from October 2012, with responsibilities for bilateral relations with Nordic and Baltic countries as well as policy issues related to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), arms control, nonproliferation, and security assistance.

His other recent assignments included Director for European Security and Political Affairs (2010-2012), Director of the Office of Pakistan Affairs (2008-10) and Counselor for Political-Military Affairs in Kabul (2007-08).

Mr. Hartley has extensive experience in European security issues, including tours as the Deputy Director for European Regional Security Affairs (2006-07), Deputy Political Advisor at the U.S. Mission to NATO (1999-2002), Political-Military Affairs Officer in Rome (1989-1993), and Desk Officer for the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (1987-89).  He has also served as the Director for Regional Affairs in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism (2003-2005), Senior Advisor for International Relations at the National Counterterrorism Center (2005-06), Cyprus Desk Officer (1997-99), policy analyst in the Bureau of Personnel, staff assistant in the Bureau for European Affairs, and political officer in the Office of Egyptian Affairs.

Mr. Hartley entered the Foreign Service in March 1981 and served his first tour at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.  He was born in Medford, Oregon. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in U.S. History and International Relations from Hampshire College and a Masters in Strategic Studies from the National War College.

2010-2015 Ambassador Joseph Adamo Mussomeli

Ambassador Joseph Adamo Mussomeli
Ambassador Joseph Adamo Mussomeli

Prior to his arrival in Slovenia in 2010, Ambassador Mussomeli was the Assistant Chief of Mission in Kabul, Afghanistan.  Mr. Mussomeli served previously as the Director of Entry Level Career Development and Assignments from September 2008.  Before that Mr. Mussomeli was the Ambassador to the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia from 2005 to 2008.  As such, he received the 2008 Presidential Distinguished Service Award for improving that bilateral relationship.

Mr. Mussomeli was born in New York City on May 26, 1952.  He graduated from Camden Catholic High School in 1970.  He then went to Rutgers University for two years before dropping out and becoming an upholsterer, and then spending several months hitch-hiking through Europe.  Upon returning to the United States, he attended Trenton State College and graduated summa cum laude in 1975, earning a BA in Political Science.  In 1978, he earned a Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers Law School.  Following law school Mr. Mussomeli served as a law clerk to the Appellate Court of New Jersey from 1978-1979, and then worked as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey.

Mr. Mussomeli entered the Foreign Service in September 1980 and began his career serving in Cairo, Egypt, as a General Service Officer.  Following Cairo, Mr. Mussomeli served in the Department as staff assistant to the Undersecretary for Security Assistance.  He then served in Manila, Philippines as a consular officer from 1984-1986.  His subsequent tours included: North Korea Desk Officer (1986-1988), Senior Watch Officer (1989-1990), Economic Counselor in Colombo, Sri Lanka (1990-1992), Office of Inspector General (1992-1994), Political Counselor in Rabat, Morocco (1995-1998), Deputy Chief of Mission in Manama, Bahrain (1998-2001), and as a member of the Senior Seminar (2001-2002).  He served as Deputy Chief of Mission in the Philippines (2002-2005) before becoming Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

2008-2009 Ambassador Yousif B. Ghafari

Mr. Yousif B. Ghafari was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia on May 15, 2008.
Mr. Yousif B. Ghafari was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia on May 15, 2008.

Born in southern Lebanon on September 27, 1952, Mr. Ghafari emigrated to the United States in the early 1970s and became an American citizen on September 6, 1978. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics in 1974, a Master of Arts in Applied Mathematics and Computer Applications in 1975, and a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1977 – all from Wayne State University. He became a licensed Professional Engineer in 1984, and in 1992, Mr. Ghafari received his Master of Business Administration from the Michigan State University Advanced Management Program. He was founder and chairman of GHAFARI, a firm of architects, engineers, consultants, and staffing specialists involved in projects in aviation, manufacturing, government, and the commercial sector.

In 2004 and 2005, Mr. Ghafari served as Public Delegate Designate at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations for the 59th United Nations General Assembly. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board in 2005. He was also a founding member of the “Partnership for Lebanon,” a collaborative effort by U.S. firms and the U.S. government to help Lebanon revitalize itself economically.

Yousif Ghafari is considered one of the Detroit area’s leading philanthropists. In 1995 he was named one of the Top 100 “Executive Heroes” in southeastern Michigan and he is also a member of the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit’s “Hall of Fame.”  In 2005, Wayne State University acknowledged his longtime support by renaming one of its residence buildings Yousif B. Ghafari Hall.

Mr. Ghafari is also an active member of numerous business and sports clubs, and an enthusiastic athlete, having run the Boston Marathon and Detroit Free Press International Marathon.

2004-2007 Ambassador Thomas Bolling Robertson

Ambassador Thomas Bolling Robertson
Ambassador Thomas Bolling Robertson

Thomas B. Robertson is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor. President Bush nominated Mr. Robertson as U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia on February 6, 2004. The U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination on May 6, 2004, and he was sworn in by Secretary Powell as Ambassador on September 16, 2004.

Ambassador Robertson began his career in the Foreign Service in 1981, serving overseas in Moscow from 1982-84 as aide to the Ambassador, and as political officer in Bonn, Germany from 1984-86. From 1986-89 he was Deputy Director for Exchanges in the Office of Soviet Union Affairs at State.

In 1990, Ambassador Robertson moved to Budapest, Hungary, where he was chief of the Political Section. He worked in the office of the Special Coordinator for Counter-terrorism 1993-94, as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for European and Canadian Affairs in 1994, and as European specialist in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs from 1994-95. Ambassador Robertson was the Law Enforcement Counselor at the American Embassy in Moscow from 1995-1997.

In April 1998 he returned to the Embassy in Budapest as the Deputy Chief of Mission, where he served until March 2001. From March until August 2001, he served in Hungary as the U.S. Charge d’Affaires a.i. Ambassador Robertson worked at the National Security Council as Director for Russian Affairs beginning in September 2001. In 2002 he returned to the Department of State to serve as a Career Development Officer in the Senior Level Division of the Bureau of Human Resources.

Before entering the Foreign Service, Ambassador Robertson was a guide and then an exhibit manager with the U.S. Information Agency, working on cultural exhibits in the Soviet Union, Hungary, Romania, and Zaire from 1975-81. He has a bachelor degree from Princeton University, a masters from Johns Hopkins School of International Affairs, and has studied in Germany, the Soviet Union, and Italy. From 1997-98 he studied at the Naval War College in Newport, RI. He speaks Russian, German, Hungarian, and some Slovene, French and Italian.

2001-2004 Ambassador Johnny Young

Ambassador Johnny Young served as the Ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia from 2001 to 2004.
Ambassador Johnny Young served as the Ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia from 2001 to 2004.

Ambassador Young retired from the United States Department of State on Nov. 30, 2004, as a member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Career Ambassador.  Today, he continues to serve the Department of State as a Team Leader in the Office of the Inspector General.

Prior to his retirement, he served as United States Ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia, to the State of Bahrain, to the Republic of Togo, and to the Republic of Sierra Leone.  He served three Presidents as Ambassador.

Ambassador Young began his Foreign Service career in 1967 as a Budget and Fiscal Officer in Antananarivo, Madagascar followed by assignments in 1970 and 1972 as supervisory General Services Officer in Conakry, Guinea and Nairobi, Kenya; respectively.  In 1974, he was transferred to Doha, Qatar to provide administrative support to the newly expanded American Embassy and the first America Ambassador to that country.  While in Qatar, Ambassador Young served as Administrative Officer and Chargé d’ Affaires, a.i.  After Qatar, he was assigned to Bridgetown, Barbados as Administrative Counselor.

In 1979, Ambassador Young came to Washington, DC as Career Development Officer in the Bureau of Personnel.  This was followed by service as Executive Director for the Office of the Inspector General in 1981.  Ambassador Young departed Washington in 1983 to be Administrative Counselor in Amman, Jordan; and in 1985 served at The Hague, Netherlands.  In 1988, he was selected for assignment to the Senior Seminar.

During his Foreign Service career, Ambassador Young has received three cash awards for performance, one Meritorious Honor Award, and two Group Honor Awards.  He was also involved with Operation “Sharp Edge,” which was responsible for U.S. support and evacuation efforts during the Liberian war.  In addition, the Sierra Leone mission received a Superior Group Award for their assistance in evacuating U.S. citizens following the coup in Freetown in April 1992.

Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Young was the recipient of a fellowship to the Fels Institute of State and Local Government at the University of Pennsylvania.  In 1990, the Philadelphia School Board selected him for the Obermayer Award presented annually to an outstanding graduate of the public school system.

Ambassador Young holds a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Temple University.

1998-2001 Ambassador Nancy Ely-Raphel

Ambassador Nancy Ely-Raphel
Ambassador Nancy Ely-Raphel

Ambassador Nancy Ely-Raphel served as the Ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia from 1998 to 2001.

Ambassador Ely-Raphel has most recently served as Vice President and Managing Director of Save the Children.  Prior to that appointment she was the Counselor on International Law in the Department of State.

Ambassador Ely-Raphel served as Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State and Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons where she established that office and led the State Department’s efforts to develop and implement policy to combat trafficking in persons until January 2003.  From 1998 until 2001 she served as the United States Ambassador to Slovenia.  Prior to her service in Slovenia, she served as the Coordinator for Bosnia, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and Assistant Legal Adviser for African Affairs and Nuclear Affairs.

She has worked as an Assistant United States Attorney, Associate Dean of Boston University School of Law and senior trial attorney with the Organized Crime Strike Force of the Department of Justice.  A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she is the recipient of various awards, including the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive in 1991 and 1999, in 2001 the University of San Diego’s Author E. Hughes Award for lifetime career achievement and in 2004 the Director General’s Cup of the Department of State.

1995-1998 Ambassador Victor Jackovich

Ambassador Victor Jackovich served as the Ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia from 1995 to 1998.
Ambassador Victor Jackovich served as the Ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia from 1995 to 1998.

Ambassador Jackovich is President of Jackovich International, a Washington-based consulting firm providing guidance to U.S. and European businesses engaged in the promotion and sale of defense and other products.  He is retained by Ervin Technical Associates as Vice President of International Relations.  Together, the two companies represent major U.S. defense contractors and other entities.  He retired from United States government service in 2004 after 33 years, including 13 years at the rank of Ambassador.

In 2005, Ambassador Jackovich accepted an invitation to become Senior Associate at the prestigious Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington.  He currently also serves as U.S. representative on the European Union’s Business Advisory Council for Southeast Europe, and as a Member of the Board of Trustees of a northern Italian and Central European business and policy association.

Following the September 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, Ambassador Jackovich was tapped as the U.S. government’s Senior Political Advisor for U.S. Military Operations in Afghanistan.  In this capacity, during 2002 and 2003 he provided policy direction and recommendations to U.S. and coalition military, security and counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia.  He helped conceive and implement Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), the innovative post-conflict concept of combining combat and stability operations, a mechanism that was later adopted in Iraq.  He played a key role in the founding of the Tripartite Commission, a high-level gathering of American, Afghan and Pakistani military and government officials developing policies on cross-border terrorism, and served as U.S. representative in the Commission.

From 1999 to 2002, Ambassador Jackovich was Associate Director of the George Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Germany, the Department of Defense’s premier training institute for military and political leaderships in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.  Prior to this, Ambassador Jackovich headed up a variety of U.S. government initiatives dealing with Eastern Europe, including the Department of State’s Office of Southeast European Initiatives.  In 1998 and 1999, he led the U.S. delegation to the Royaumont Process, linking U.S., European and other international efforts in Southeast Europe.

Throughout his government service, Ambassador Jackovich specialized in launching new operations and leading them through their formative years.  During the warfare in the Balkans, he successfully opened the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia (1994) and spent the conflict years in Bosnia as the U.S. Ambassador negotiating with the warring factions on behalf of U.S. objectives (1992-95).  He organized the establishment of USG operations in Slovenia (1995), paving the way for that country’s later entry into NATO and the European Union.  During the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he headed the first U.S. representation to the independent state of Moldova (1992).   He was Director of the Department of State’s Task Force on the Balkan crisis (1990-91) and led U.S. delegations to international conferences on the Balkans in Geneva and elsewhere (1992-93).

Other international assignments included:  Moscow, Russia (1988-1990);  Sofia, Bulgaria (1991);  Nairobi, Kenya (1983-1986);  Bucharest, Romania (1980-1983);  and, Kiev, Ukraine (1979-1980).

Among his many awards are the U.S. government’s Distinguished Presidential Award (1994) for diplomatic service and the American Bar Association’s Max Kampelman Award (1998) for “advancing the rule of law in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.”  In addition, he holds the Golden Eagle Award (1995), conferred by the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina; the Serb Civic Society Award (1999); and, the Distinguished Civilian Service Award (2003), conferred by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for “policy guidance provided and special programs designed for the U.S. European Command – EUCOM – in order to accelerate integration of new democracies of Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union into NATO and Euro-Atlantic associations.”  He specialized in Russia, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and maintains fluency in several languages.

Ambassador Jackovich was born on April 24, 1948 in Des Moines, Iowa.  He graduated from Indiana University and attained an M.A. in 1971.

1992-1995 Ambassador E. Allan Wendt

Ambassador Allan Wendt served as the Ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia from 1992 to 1995.
Ambassador Allan Wendt served as the Ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia from 1992 to 1995.

Ambassador Wendt is an International Affairs Consultant based in Washington, DC.  From 2001 to the present, he has done public diplomacy work for the United States Department of State with French speaking audiences as well as occasional radio interviews on U.S. foreign policy with Radio France Internationale and the BBC World Service.  From December 1998 until May 2000, he served at the United States Department of State as Special Representative for Donor Activities in the Office of the Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State for Kosovo and Dayton Implementation.

Previously, Ambassador Wendt was a member of the International Network Group of de Pury Pictet Turrettini & Co., an investment, asset management, and strategic consulting firm based in Zurich and Geneva.

Ambassador Wendt has been a career Chief of Mission in the U.S. Foreign Service with the rank of Ambassador.  He has held senior level positions in Washington dealing with energy, commodities, strategic trade, technology transfer and export controls.  He has served overseas in Germany, Vietnam, Belgium, Egypt, and in Slovenia, where he was the first American Ambassador, serving from 1992 to 1995.

From 1975 to 1979, Ambassador Wendt was Director of the Office of International Commodities at the Department of State.  From 1981 to 1986, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Energy and Resources Policy. The Secretary of State appointed Ambassador Wendt Senior Representative for Strategic Trade and Technology Policy in May 1987.  In July 1988, following confirmation by the Senate, the President accorded him the rank of Ambassador.

Ambassador Wendt holds a Presidential Meritorious Service Award, a Department of State Superior Honor Award, and the Department’s Award for Heroism for his performance at the American Embassy in Saigon during the Vietcong Tet offensive in 1968.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, and is a Councillor of the Atlantic Council of the United States.  He is also on the Board of Advisors of the National Youth Leadership Forum on Defense, Intelligence and Diplomacy.  His foreign languages are French, German and Spanish.

Ambassador Wendt holds a Master of Public Administration (economics) from Harvard, a Certificat d’Etudes Politiques from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, and a BA magna cum laude from Yale.