The landlocked nation of Mongolia, sandwiched between Russia and China, has long been one of the most remote and least developed places in the world. Its progress toward democracy and economic development since the end of the Cold War will likely be familiar to the career diplomat nominated by President Obama on March 5, 2012, to be the next ambassador to Mongolia.
Piper Anne Wind Campbell, daughter of Gay Campbell and David N. Campbell, a longtime director of Gibraltar Industries, which manufactures and distributes building materials. She was born circa 1966 in Buffalo, New York, and graduated Nichols School, a Buffalo prep school, in 1984. She later said her participation in a summer exchange program to Japan “definitely set me onto this career path in diplomacy.” Campbell earned a B.S. in Foreign Service with a certificate in Asian Studies at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1988, and a Masters in Public Administration at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government in 1999.
She worked briefly for an organization promoting trade between Western New York and Canada prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1989. She began her career with service as a consular and administrative officer at the embassy in Manila, Philippines, followed by a stint as a general services officer providing support to the three U.S. missions in Brussels, Belgium (to the EU, to NATO and to Belgium). Campbell served in the State Department Operations Center from 1994 to 1995, and in the International Organizations Bureau from 1995 to 1996. Detailed to the civil affairs section of a UN peacekeeping mission in the Balkans from 1996 to 1998, Campbell helped the US Agency for International Development (USAID) establish an office in Eastern Slavonia, Croatia, in 1998.
After taking a one-year leave to earn her M.P.A. in 1999, Campbell covered Asian issues and Security Council reform at the U.S. Mission to the UN in New York from 1999 to 2002, and served as counselor for Humanitarian Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2002 to 2006. Campbell then served at the Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, first as deputy chief of mission, starting September 20, 2006, and then as chargé d’affaires ad interim from August 25, 2008, to January 19, 2009.
Back in Washington, Campbell served as chief of staff to Jack Lew, the deputy secretary of state for Management and Resources, until being named consul general at the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah, Iraq, on July 12, 2011.
Piper Campbell has donated $3,200 to Democratic candidates and organizations over the years, with $1,500 going to the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry and $700 to the Democratic National Committee in 2004; she also donated $1,000 to Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008, according to OpenSecrets.org. An avid runner, Campbell has competed in marathons and half marathons on three continents.