Vicki Huddleston recently completed 15 months as the acting U.S. ambassador in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is currently a commentator and consultant for NBC Universal. She has served as ambassador to Mali and Madagascar, and deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa. She has had extensive experience with Cuba, having served as chief of mission at the United States Interests Section in Havana and as director and deputy director of Cuban affairs at the Department of State.
In Ethiopia she advanced democracy by initiating a dialogue between the government and opposition parties, and was instrumental in formulating American policy toward Somalia. In Mali she advocated countering terrorist movements in the Sahara by helping isolated villagers build wells, schools, and clinics. In Madagascar her environmental programs resulted in the establishment of Masuelo National Park. While deputy assistant secretary she formulated policies that contributed to the peace settlement in Sierra Leone.
As the U.S.'s chief diplomat in Havana, she sought to empower the Cuban people by creating an outreach program resulting in the distribution of thousands of books and radios, and was instrumental in effecting the return of a shipwrecked child, Elian Gonzales, to his father in Cuba. While deputy chief of mission in Haiti, she acted as operational liaison during the 1994 deployment of U.S. and multinational forces.
As an American Political Science Association Congressional fellow in the 1980’s, she drafted the “Missile Technology Control Regime,” the principal legislation regulating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Prior to entering the diplomatic service, she worked for the American Institute for Free Labor Development in Peru and Brazil. She began her public career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru.
Huddleston recently spent a semester as a fellow at the Institute of Politics of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She has a MA degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a BA from the University of Colorado, where she gave the first Distinguished Alumni plenary speech at the 57th Conference on World Affairs. She has received the Department of State’s highest award, the Secretary’s Distinguished Honor Award, two Presidential Meritorious Service Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award.