Estonian-American Riina Kionka, who is currently serving as EU ambassador to the Republic of South Africa, has been appointed the EU's next ambassador to Pakistan.
Kionka was appointed to the position by European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. The names of 31 new heads of EU delegations were published Wednesday.
Kionka, who has also previously worked as chief foreign policy adviser to President of the European Council Donald Tusk, was appointed EU ambassador to the Republic of South Africa in July 2019.
Kionka was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1960. In 1983, she graduated from the James Madison College of Michigan State University with double bachelor's degrees in international relations and German literature, which were followed by an MA in political science from Columbia University in 1986.
In 1993, Kionka began working for Estonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and completed her PhD on Estonian politics after returning to the U.S. in 1996.
From 2000-2004, she served as Estonian ambassador to Germany, and upon returning to Estonia served as the MFA's undersecretary for EU affairs.
On July 1, 2005, Kionka began work at a transatlantic relations, human rights and UN directorate under the Council of the European Union, where she directed the department that developed the EU's common foreign policy positions regarding the United States and Canada. In 2007, then-High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Javier Solana named Kionka his personal representative for human rights.
She has also worked as head of the Central Asia Division of the European External Action Service (EEAS). In 2014, she was invited to join Donald Tusk's cabinet as chief foreign policy adviser.
Two other Estonians are currently serving as EU ambassadors abroad: Matti Maasikas has served as EU ambassador to Ukraine since 2019, and Tiina Intelmann as EU ambassador to Somalia since September 2021.
From 2014-2017, Intelmann had served as EU ambassador to Liberia. Aivo Orav has also previously served as EU ambassador to Montenegro.
Aivo Orav, EL delegatsiooni juht Montenegros
Editor: Aili Vahtla