Virginia Palmer is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. She arrived in Lilongwe on January 27, 2015 to assume her responsibilities as the U.S. Ambassador to Malawi. Prior to serving in Malawi, she was the Deputy Chief of Mission in Pretoria from 2011 to 2014, including extended service as Chargé d’ Affaires a.i. She served in similar capacities at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam.
She served in the Department of State as the Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism from 2005 to 2008 and Director of the East Asia Bureau’s Office of Economic Policy from 2004 to 2005. She was Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Her other postings include Beijing, Hong Kong, Harare, Calgary, the Office of Maghreb Affairs, and the Operations Center.
She received her Masters from the University of Virginia and B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University. She also attended Washington University in St. Louis. Ambassador Palmer speaks Chinese and French. She and her husband, Ismail Asmal, also a Foreign Service Officer, have two daughters.