ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Herro Mustafa, born in the Kurdistan Region’s Erbil, has been appointed by US President Donald Trump to be the next Ambassador to Bulgaria, a White House statement said on Monday, generating buzz as she is believed to be the first Kurd to hold such a post in the US.
Mustafa is expected to replace outgoing Ambassador Eric Rubin once Congress approves her appointment. Mustafa has been serving as deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Lisbon since July 2016. Previously, she was the Political Minister-Counselor at the US Embassy in India.
Born in the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Region in 1973 from a Kurdish family, Mustafa’s family sought asylum in the US in 1976. Her father was a Kurdish political activist and an opponent of the former Iraqi authoritarian regime of Saddam Hussein.
She received a B.S.F.S from Georgetown University and an M.P.A from Princeton in the field of International Relations.
She grew up in Minot, North Dakota and speaks nine languages, including Kurdish, Arabic, Russian, Hindi, Farsi, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, and Turkish. She is married and has two daughters.
In Washington DC, she served as an adviser to the then-US Vice-President, Joe Biden, from 2009 to 2011, providing counsel on issues related to the Middle East, and south and central Asia. Mustafa was also Deputy Director of the Afghanistan Office with the US State Department and Director of the National Security Council.
She was acting Chief-of-Staff for Under Secretary for Political Affairs, William Burns, and an advisor on the Middle East for former Under Secretary Nicholas Burns, where she was closely involved in the P5+1 talks on Iran.
Mustafa was Director for Iran, Israeli-Palestinian Affairs, and Jordan with the National Security Council from 2005 to 2006 and Director for Iraq and Afghanistan from 2004 to 2005. Before that, she was the lead US Civilian Coordinator in Mosul, Iraq; a Consular Officer in Beirut, Lebanon; and a Political Officer in Athens, Greece.
Mustafa also worked in the non-governmental sector in Bosnia in the 1990s and then at the US Embassy in Athens in 1999.
Editing by Nadia Riva