Meet the new US Consul General in Erbil: Robert Palladino
WASHINGTON, DC (Kurdistan 24) – Robert Palladino is about to become America’s new Consul General in Erbil. He will assume that position in July, when he replaces Robert Waller.
This reporter knows Palladino from when he served as the State Department’s deputy spokesperson. Typically, there are many more journalists with questions than time to answer them, and the major US and international media have first claim on the briefer’s attention.
Yet at his briefings, Palladino regularly took questions from Kurdistan 24 and, with equal regularity, he gave thoughtful and considered responses.
So when Kurdistan 24 heard that he had been appointed to head the Consulate in Erbil, we reached out to him to learn how he views his new posting.
Palladino’s response was, indeed, as thoughtful and considered, as his answers to Kurdistan 24’s questions in the State Department briefings.
“Strengthening the Bonds between the United States and Iraqi Kurdistan Region”
“I am proud of America’s longstanding and historic partnership with Iraq’s Kurdish people,” Palladino said, and “I look forward to serving as the next American Consul General and to strengthening the bonds between the United States and Iraqi Kurdistan Region.”
“Like many Americans, I have long admired the Kurdish people’s ambition and determination,” he continued, before describing how that perspective related to his conduct of the press briefings.
“When I was the State Department’s deputy spokesperson from 2019-2020, I held press briefings for American and international journalists, Palladino said. “And during those briefings, I made a deliberate point to always call on the journalist from Kurdistan 24. I wanted everyone to hear questions from Kurdish media and wanted the United States to speak to the Kurdish people.”
Preparing for Assignment in Erbil
On his first visit to Erbil, in January 2019, accompanying then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as Palladino explained, “I was truly struck by the region’s natural beauty and the incredible people.”
“Over the past few months, I have studied the Kurdish language, history and culture,” he continued, “and my admiration for the Kurdish people has only grown.”
“Based on my past experiences with the Kurdish people and their generous hospitality, I am looking forward to returning to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region to serve as the next American Consul General,” he concluded.
Palladino most recently served as chief of staff to the Deputy Secretary of State. Before that, he was the State Department’s deputy spokesperson, and before that, acting National Security Council spokesperson.
He is a career diplomat, who has worked on key foreign policy and national security challenges across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Palladino has served in a variety of positions in the East Asian and Pacific Affairs bureau at the State Department in Washington, as well as overseas in China, Vietnam, and Italy. He speaks Chinese and Italian—and, pretty soon, Kurdish as well!
Palladino is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, the Washington & Lee University School of Law, and the US Army War College. Before joining the State Department, he practiced law in East Asia and Europe in the US Army’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps.
Editing by John J. Catherine