The United States Government has appointed a new head to its Consulate General in Belfast. The new Consul General is Dan Lawton, a New Yorker, who took up his post at the end of July of this year, succeeding Gregory Burton.
Although Dan has considerable experience of international diplomatic appointments around the world, the nearest he has been to these parts is when he was a Political-Military Officer in Copenhagen between 2002 and 2006.
Most recently, before coming to Belfast, he was the Deputy Director of the Office of Southern European Affairs in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the US Department of State in Washington DC. Prior to that Dan served as the Political Counsellor at the American Embassy in Athens (2010-2013) and Deputy Political Counsellor in Caracas (2006-2009) Earlier in his diplomatic career he also served in Lima, Karachi, and Mexico and completed separate State Department assignments as the Country Officer for Cyprus and Sri Lanka. Dan has a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in International Relations from Brown University and Syracuse University respectively.
It will be interesting to see the future role that Dan and the US team in Belfast play in the ever challenging political arena in Northern Ireland. While the US Government has always been supportive of the Peace Process and of political progess generally, it may not have any great desire to get involved in the ongoing political stalemate over the Budget cuts and welfare reform. However, if it does, then Dan Lawton’s experience in places like Greece will no doubt prove useful. Either way, we wish him well in his new role.