New US Ambassador to Indonesia Confirmed

Career diplomat and East Asia specialist clears US Senate hurdle

By AmCham staff
Friday, October 28, 2016

The United States Senate has confirmed President Barack Obama’s nomination of experienced diplomat Joseph R. Donovan Jr. as the next US Ambassador to Indonesia, replacing the recently retired Robert O. Blake Jr.

No announcement has been made about when he will take up his post in Jakarta.

Ambassador Donovan, a career member of the Foreign Service, was born and raised in Goshen, New York. He attended Georgetown University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service in 1973, and a Masters’ Degree in national security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1993. After graduating from Georgetown, he was a Peace Corps volunteer for two years in Seoul, South Korea.

He has spent most of his career dealing with East Asia. His early assignments with the State Department included in Taiwan, China, South Korea and Qatar.

In 1997, he was named chief of the political/military unit in the embassy in Tokyo. His next posting was in Taipei as the political section chief in the American Institute in Taiwan, which represents US interests there. He returned to Washington in 2003 as director of the Office of China, Hong Kong and Mongolia Affairs. He moved back to Tokyo in 2005 as deputy chief of mission in the embassy there.

In 2008, Ambassador Donovan was appointed consul general for Hong Kong and Macau. The following year, he returned home to serve as principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the East Asia and Pacific Bureau. He had a short stint as an associate professor at the National War College in 2011 and 2012 before being named foreign policy adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In 2014, he became managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan’s Washington office, a post he held until being named ambassador to Indonesia.

Donovan’s wife, Mei Chou Wu, is from Taiwan. They have two sons.

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