Patricia A. Butenis

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Patricia Agatha Butenis
Ambassador butenis.jpg
United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka
In office
August 19, 2009 – June 29, 2012
President Barack Obama
United States Ambassador to the Maldives
In office
August 19, 2009 – June 29, 2012
President Barack Obama
United States Ambassador to Bangladesh
In office
April 13, 2006 – June 23, 2007
President George W. Bush
Personal details
Born 1953 (age 63–64)
Nationality United States
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University
Religion Roman Catholic

Patricia Agatha Butenis (born 1953)[1] is an American diplomat. In 2014 she retired with the rank of Career Minister.

Early life and education[edit]

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Arts degree in international relations from Columbia University.


Butenis' final career assignment was as the Dean of the School of Professional and Area Studies in the Foreign Service Institute. From 2009-2012, Butenis was the United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the United States Ambassador to the Maldives.[2] As the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad from 2007-2009[3] Butenis won the State Department's Baker-Wilkins Award as the Outstanding Deputy Chief of Mission (2008). She was the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh from April 13, 2006 – June 23, 2007, and deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad before that.[4]

Butenis joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1980 and has served consular tours in Karachi, Pakistan; San Salvador, El Salvador; New Delhi, India; and Bogotá, Colombia.

Diplomatic-cable leak by WikiLeaks[edit]

Butenis sparked controversy in Sri Lanka in late 2009 when WikiLeaks — an international new-media, non-profit organization that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources and news leaks — disclosed diplomatic cables sent by her on verifying the accountability of war crimes that allegedly happened in the final stages of Sri Lankan Civil War (1983–2009).[5][6]

WikiLeaks also leaked Butenis's Bangladesh mission, where she worked during a volatile political situation in 2006-07 period [7] and met political leaders including Sheikh Hasina, Khaleda Zia and Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury and there were moves to solve the political deadlock.[8] She had series of meetings with various leaders including military officials.[9]


  1. ^ Patricia A. Butenis (1953–)
  2. ^ "Ambassador Patricia A. Butenis". Embassy of the United States: Sri Lanka and Maldives. Retrieved December 13, 2010. 
  3. ^ CNN − Iraq: Blackwater staff to face charges, September 23, 2007. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  4. ^ "Patricia A. Butenis Biography". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "Sri Lanka War Crimes Accountability: The Tamil Perspective". WikiLeaks. December 2, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2010. 
  6. ^ Staff writer (December 1, 2010). "US Worried on Sri Lanka Rights Probe: WikiLeaks". Agence France-Presse (via Google News. Retrieved December 20, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Cable Viewer". 
  8. ^ "Cable Viewer". 
  9. ^ "Cable Viewer". 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Harry K. Thomas Jr.
United States Ambassador to Bangladesh
Succeeded by
James F. Moriarty
Preceded by
Robert O. Blake, Jr.
U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka
Succeeded by
Michele J. Sison