Ambassador Walter North is a career diplomat. He has held several high ranking positions in the U.S. Agency for International Development, including Mission Director for Egypt, Indonesia, India, and Zambia.
Prior to his career with USAID, North was a project manager for the non-profit development organization CARE in India and Bangladesh and a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia. He is married to Judy Ryon, and is an avid runner.
Why is he in the News?
Walter North was confirmed as ambassador to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu on September 22. His hearing before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee was held on September 12, 2012.
What can we expect from him?
Ambassador North is described by his peers as a strategic thinker. In his new position it is likely that he will find complementary ways to work with major regional aid donors such as Australia and New Zealand, and identify opportunities where the United States can add value. He is well known for his interest in the environment, public health, and education, as well as for his expertise in governance and landowner issues.
Not only will he be arriving at his new position with a deep understanding of the challenges facing the islands of Melanesia, we can expect him to pay attention to issues such as the spread of HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea, sustainable development, and to support practical efforts to improve governance, such as the World Bank’s “Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative” that helps ensure that extractive resource profits are put towards sustainable development, not corruption.