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Hungarian-Born Career Diplomat Nominated as Trump’s Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

Gábor Sarnyai 2018.06.15.

Tibor Peter Nagy Jr. is a Hungarian-born carrier diplomat  who has been nominated for an important role in the Trump administration. On Thursday, the United States Senate’s foreign relations committee held a hearing on Nagy’s potential appointment to the position of Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (you can view a video of his testimony before the Senate here). 

Nagy, whose family came to the United States from Hungary as political refugees in 1957, joined the foreign service in 1978. He spent over two decades in Africa as a foreign service officer, including stints as ambassador to Guinea from 1996 to 1999 and Ethiopia from 1999 to 2002. He received a B.A. from Texas Tech University in 1972 and an M.S.A. from George Washington University in 1978.

He was part of Barack Obama’ s Africa team, but was disappointed in how the administration handled Africa, and during the presidential campaign, he served as a policy adviser to candidate Mitt Romney on Counter-Terrorism and Africa. After leaving the foreign service, he went back to work for his alma mater, Texas Tech University, where he recently retired as vice provost for international affairs.

With this new position, some Hungarian observers believe Nagy could have a huge influence on the migration policies of US, which could in turn have a spill-over effect on Europe’s migration strategies.

Foreign Policy has examined the nomination, and they think “It could give extra umph to the State Department’s role on the continent, which critics say is waning with an absence of senior appointees and ambassadorships.”

If confirmed, Nagy would be the second Hungarian to occupy a prominent post during the Trump presidency: the first was British-American political adviser Sebastian Gorka, who had a brief, and tumultuous, stint in the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President for national security affairs.