Press Release 2012
Ambassador James B. Cunningham Presents Credentials
August 13, 2012
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham presented his diplomatic credentials to Afghan President Hamid Karzai at a ceremony today at the Presidential Palace. Ambassador Cunningham previously served as Deputy Ambassador to Afghanistan.
Before his tenure in Kabul, Ambassador Cunningham was the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, beginning August 2008. Prior to Israel, he was U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong, responsible for the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions of China. He was Ambassador and Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1999-2004) and Acting Permanent Representative from January to September 2001. Ambassador Cunningham holds the rank of Career Minister in the Foreign Service.
After early tours in Stockholm, Washington, Rome and the U.S. Mission to NATO, he served as Chief of Staff to NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner from 1988 to 1990. He advised the Secretary General on all NATO issues in the context of the unification of Germany and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.
Just after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Ambassador Cunningham became Deputy Political Counselor at the U.S. Mission to the UN. From 1993 to 1995, he served as Director of the State Department's Office of European Security and Political Affairs, with responsibility for many aspects of U.S. policy toward Europe. He served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Rome from 1996 to 1999.
Ambassador Cunningham was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University, with degrees in political science and psychology. He is married to Leslie Genier of Mineville, New York. They have two daughters. Ambassador Cunningham is the recipient of the Department's Superior, Merit and Performance awards; the National Performance Review's Hammer Award for innovation in government management; the President's Meritorious Service Award; and the Conference of Presidents of major Jewish Organizations' National Service Award. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society.