Another changing of the guard is taking place in the wake of last year’s election, with the United States embassy on University Avenue set to receive a new ambassador in the coming months. Appointed by US President Barack Obama in October, career diplomat Scot Marciel was confirmed by the US Senate in a unanimous vote on February 9.
Mr Marciel, a California native, has worn several different diplomatic hats in the region. In 1993, he was the first diplomat to be posted in Hanoi after the Vietnam War. He was also the first US ambassador to ASEAN before serving three years as the ambassador to Indonesia until 2013. He is currently at the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Mr Marciel was part of a US delegation that visited Myanmar in 2009. The highest-level visit since the start of the military dictatorship, the trip was perceived as a turning point in bilateral engagement.
Outgoing US ambassador Derek Mitchell served as a special representative to Myanmar from August 2011 until he was appointed ambassador in June 2012. Mr Mitchell oversaw visits from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011, and President Barack Obama in 2012 and 2014.
“Our ambassador to Burma, Derek Mitchell, has staunchly pursued America’s interests in an important post. He’s helped guide our relationship with Burma through an historic transition to elected government,” Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said in remarks before the vote on February 9.
“Ambassador Marciel will represent us as a new government is formed – and as America’s policies adjust to those changes on the ground,” he said.
The US embassy was not able to confirm the exact date of the expected changeover yesterday.