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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 25, 1996


The President today announced his intent to nominate Charles O. Cecil of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, as Ambassador to the Republic of Niger.

Mr. Cecil brings extensive African and Middle Eastern experience to his position. Most recently he served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. His first acquaintance with Africa dates to 1962 when he spent a summer in Nigeria on a cultural exchange program. Over the years he acquired extensive functional and area expertise in Africa and the Middle East, in Washington assignments dealing with political-military affairs, and more recently, with international environmental affairs. In addition to serving as Deputy Chief of Mission in Muscat, Oman and Bamako, Mali, Mr. Cecil has served in Kuwait, Zanzibar, Beirut, Jidda, and Tunis. Mr. Cecil added to his ability to oversee U.S. interests from the vantage point of broad experience by working a year on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Fellow followed by two years at the United States Information Service (U.S.I.S.) representative in Bamako.

Mr. Cecil was born on February 13, 1940 in Owensboro, Kentucky. He obtained his B.A. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. His M.A. in international relations was obtained from the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C., where he focused on African and Middle Eastern studies, with particular attention to Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa. His master's thesis was on the determinants of Libyan foreign policy. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Mr. Cecil served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. During the course of his career, he has been conversant in French, Arabic, German, and Swahili. He and his wife Jean have three children.