President Biden Announces Key Nominees
WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve as key leaders in his administration:
- Dennis B. Hankins, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Haiti
- James C. O’Brien, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
Dennis B. Hankins, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Haiti
Dennis B. Hankins is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor. He currently serves at the Pentagon as the Foreign Policy Advisor to the National Guard Bureau. Hankins has previously served as Ambassador to the Republic of Mali and to the Republic of Guinea. He has served three times as Deputy Chief of Mission, in Sudan, Mauritania and Mozambique, Principal Officer in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Consul General in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Earlier, Hankins was Political and Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Portugal, and Political Section Chief in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He served in Haiti as the Nonimmigrant Visa Chief and the Refugee Coordinator. He has also served overseas in Sudan, Thailand and Recife, Brazil. In Washington, D.C., he has served as Deputy Director for Peacekeeping, Senior Watch Officer, and Angola Desk Officer. Hankins earned a B.S.F.S. at Georgetown University, and an M.S. at the National War College. The recipient of numerous State Department performance awards, Hankins speaks French, Portuguese, and Indonesian.
James C. O’Brien, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
James C. O’Brien currently serves as Head of the Office of Sanctions Coordination, with the rank of Ambassador, at the U.S. Department of State, a position he has held since 2022. Previously, O’Brien served two U.S. administrations as a special Presidential envoy. A former career employee of the State Department and recipient of numerous performance awards from 1989 to 2001, he served as Senior Advisor to former Secretary Madeleine Albright, Principal Deputy Director of Policy Planning, and Presidential Envoy for the Balkans. He led a large and successful sanctions program and advised on a range of issues, including peace negotiations in Europe, scientific and environmental agreements, Russia and Ukraine’s post-Soviet transitions, and initiatives to investigate and prosecute persons responsible for war crimes. As the first Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs from 2015 to 2017, he helped establish the office and worked for the safe return of one hundred American citizens. After leaving government, he was Principal and Vice Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, an international advisory firm. O’Brien earned a J.D. from Yale Law School, an M.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and a B.A. from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has studied French and Russian.