James Knight (diplomat)

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James Knight
John Knight (Ambassador).jpeg
United States Ambassador to Benin
In office
30 September 2009 – 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Gayleatha B. Brown
Succeeded by Michael Raynor
Personal details
Born 1948[1]
Spouse(s) Amelia Rector Bell
Alma mater University of Chicago
Occupation Ambassador, economic development specialist, software developer, infantry officer
Military service
Awards Bronze Star Medal

James A. Knight is the United States Ambassador to Chad, having been confirmed on May 23, 2013.[2] He previously served as ambassador to Benin from 2009 to 2012. He speaks French and Portuguese.[3]


Knight is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service.[3] He was formerly the State Department's Director of the Office of East African Affairs after serving as Team Leader of the Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (see the Ninawa campaign), based in Mosul, Iraq. Before Iraq, he was Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) for the U.S. Mission to Angola as well as the DCM for Embassy Praia in Cape Verde.

Earlier experience includes assignments to the embassies in Ethiopia; Antananarivo, Madagascar; Banjul, the Gambia; and Lagos, Nigeria. Before the Foreign Service Knight worked as an economic development specialist for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Niger and as a software developer for the private sector.[4]

Knight holds a PhD from the University of Chicago, and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service as an infantry officer in the Vietnam War.[3] He is married to the former Amelia Rector Bell, a crisis management specialist at the Foreign Service Institute, and they have four children.[3]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ List of Ambassadorial Appointments
  3. ^ a b c d Ambassador James Knight. Biography from the U.S. Embassy at Cotonou, Benin. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  4. ^ James Knight. Biography from the United States Department of State. Retrieved 27 February 2010.