Ambassador Howard A. Van Vranken was nominated by President Joseph R. Biden as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Botswana on July 20, 2021 and confirmed on December 23, 2022. Prior to his nomination, he served as Executive Director and Deputy Executive Secretary, Executive Secretariat, at the Department of State in Washington, D.C.
Howard A. Van Vranken, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, previously served in senior positions including as Executive Director and Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. Earlier, Mr. Van Vranken was Management Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, Morocco, and, prior to that, was a Deputy Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. During his over 30 years of service, he served in a variety of other positions in Iraq, Israel, Norway, Yemen, Lebanon, Tunisia, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Early in his career, he served in Washington, DC in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and as a Watch Officer in the State Department Operations Center.
A native Californian, Mr. Van Vranken is married with three children. He earned his B.A. degree from the University of California, Davis, and his M.A. from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. He learned Arabic, Farsi, and Norwegian. He is the recipient of multiple State Department performance awards as well as the Presidential Distinguished Service Award.