Vicki J. Huddleston is a distinguished retired U.S. diplomat and expert on U.S.-Cuban relations and African Affairs. Most recently, she is the author of Our Woman in Havana: A Diplomat’s Chronicle of America’s Long Struggle with Castro’s Cuba, which focus on her three years as head of the US diplomatic mission in Havana.
Ambassador Huddleston is a former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa. She was U.S. Ambassador to Mail, to the Republic of Madagascar, and acting ambassador in Ethiopia. She was the Principal Officer of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, and earlier Director and Deputy Director of Cuban Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, as well as Deputy Chief of Mission in Haiti. She has received U.S. Department of State awards, including a Distinguished Honor Award and a Presidential Meritorious Service Award.
Ambassador Huddleston lead a USAID development project in Haiti for Research Triangle International from 2013 to 2015. Earlier she was the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In 2008, she was a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Team for the U.S. Department of State. She was a Visiting Scholar at Brookings Institution and a co-director of the Brookings Project on U.S. Policy Toward a Cuba in Transition that resulted in a book which she co-authored, Learning to Salsa: New Steps in US Cuban Relations. She was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow on the staff of former Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). She began her overseas career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru. She also worked for the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) in Peru and Brazil.
Huddleston earned a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins School Advanced International Studies and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado. She has authored numerous opinion pieces on Cuba, Mali, and Ethiopia that were published in The New York Times, The Miami Herald, The Los Angeles Times, The Globe and Mali, and the Washington Post.