US Embassy in Manila welcomes new Charge d'Affaires

Heather Variava, a former journalist and seasoned diplomat, is now the new Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) ad interim at the United States Embassy in the Philippines.

A CDA is an Embassy’s official representative in the absence of an Ambassador, representing the President of the United States in the host country.

“It is a privilege and an honor to assume charge of our large and busy Mission in the Philippines. I look forward to strengthening the broad and deep relationships we have here. While we are not yet free of the pandemic, I am committed to partnering with the government and people of the Philippines to face challenges together,” Variava said in a tweet on Friday, Sept. 17. She will be serving in Manila for the next three years.

Variava succeeded former Deputy Chief of Mission John Law

The Iowa-native Variava has been a member of the US Foreign Service since 1996, steered the US Embassy in Indonesia and its consulates through the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and supported the US strategic partnership in Indonesia as CDA and DCM.

Prior to her stint in Jakarta, she served as the US Consul General in Surabaya from 2015 to 2018.

Variava also served as the Director of the Office of Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and Bhutan in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the US Department of State in Washington, D.C.

She has worked in Mumbai, India; Port Louis, Mauritius; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Variava completed an executive leadership fellowship with the International Women’s Forum in 2014 and a holder of a master’s degree in national security strategy from the National War College in Washington, D.C. in 2012.

She also has degrees in journalism, from the University of Missouri, and in international relations, from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She and her husband have two sons.