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Robert Witajewski
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Country Director
Baghdad, Iraq

Bob is currently the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Country Director in Iraq, managing the Bureau's billion-dollar law enforcement program there.

Prior to arriving in Baghdad, Bob between 2002-2005 served in Nassau, The Bahamas -- a majority of his time as Chargé d'Affairs and Chief of Mission for the seventh-largest U.S. embassy in the Western Hemisphere. As DCM and Chargé, Bob oversaw the operations of the fifth largest DEA overseas post and Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection Port of Entry operations for one of only four countries in the world who's citizens do not require visas to enter the U.S. Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos is one of the most successful multi-national, multi-agency, multi-functional counter drug operations in existence. OPBAT has reduced drug flows through the Bahamas into the United States from an estimated 80 percent at one point to the single digits currently. During his assignment in The Bahamas, Bob also was in charge of three Mission evacuations in the face of oncoming Category Four and Five hurricanes. Thanks to his public relations outreach, in his three years in the Bahamas, Bob became a recognized public figure in changing public opinion -- and behind the scenes in working with all key Bahamian decision-makers -- to accept new post-9/11 security requirements, and personally breaking years'-long logjams to conclude bilateral agreements enhancing both countries. national security.

Bob has spent most of his Foreign Service career in the hemisphere's hot spots and crises countries and in places where skill and insight were required to resolve delicate situations.

Between 1998-2002, Bob served as Deputy Coordinator for Cuban Affairs and Deputy Director and Acting Director in the Office of Brazil & Southern cone affairs in the State Department. During this period, Bob was privileged to be asked to be a member of the small Senior Inter-Agency Policy Group dealing with Cuba, and represented the State Department at inter-governmental meetings dealing with the Argentine fiscal crisis -- the largest sovereign default in history.

In 1998, Bob was one of two State Department officers selected to initiate the new Master in Public Policy program at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School designed for a small elite of future public service leaders from around the world.

Prior to arriving at Princeton, Bob served for three years at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana where he worked closely with the democratic opposition in promoting human rights and a peaceful, democratic transition in Cuba. Bob's reporting and analysis from Havana set the gold standard and many of his reports remain the standard base line.

Bob arrived in Lima just weeks after the "auto-golpe" of then-President Alberto Fujimori during the height of the Sendero Luminoso terrorist movement when car bombings were a daily occurrence. During this period, a car bomb attack severely damaged the Embassy. Bob was the key interface working with international groups in monitoring the fairness of the three constitutional and congressional elections that led to a return to constitutional government in Peru.

From 1994-97, Bob served as Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Hermoillo, Mexico. This Post served as the worldwide test best for the now standard Machine Readable Visa. Still fondly remembered, Bob received only the second Sonora-Arizona Bilateral Commission award for his accomplishments in promoting cross-border relations. (Former Arizona Governor and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt received the first such award.) In addition to advancing consular work, Bob embarked on an ambitious program of political and economic analysis, promoting U.S. investment and business in Sonora, and drug interdiction programs. He also established a unique relationship with Arizona's Congressional delegation that led to many key senior Congressional assistants developing a new awareness of consular operations from visits to Post and actually participating in visa issuance process.

As Officer in Charge for Nicaragua and Belize from 1986-88, Bob was one of the key players in the critical period leading up to the election of Violetta Chamorro and the electoral defeat of the Sandinista Party. In Guatemala (1983-85), Bob worked closely with the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to create and implement a balloting system for the elections that ended military rule that resulted in no credible allegations of ballot fraud.

A member of the Senior Foreign Service, Bob has published articles in both academic and professional magazines. The national edition of Who's Who in America has listed his name for many years. He has extensive experience working with other U.S. Government agencies outside of the State Department and has degrees from the top universities in the United States: Michigan, the University of California at Berkeley, and Princeton. He is an accomplished public speaker having appeared innumerable times on radio, television and in newspapers in many countries and has been invited to make presentations at Princeton and several other universities. He has received numerous awards from the Department of State.

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