Political and Economic Counselor, U.S. Embassy Tbilisi (from summer 2020)
Michael Honigstein is a Foreign Service Officer currently preparing for his next tour as the political and economic counselor to the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia. He has recently completed a tour detailed to the U.S. military as a political advisor for the U.S. Africa Command based in Stuttgart, Germany assisting in the development of all the U.S. military’s strategies and plans for working with and supporting the people of Africa. He was previously the head of Embassy Kabul’s internal politics unit, which covered the executive and legislative branches of the government, as well as Afghanistan’s reconciliation efforts with the Taliban and other insurgents. Before that, Michael was the head of the political section at the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, which covers both Sri Lanka and the Maldives. In that role, he worked to assist Sri Lanka in its reconciliation efforts following its 30-year civil war, support the democratic transition in the Maldives, and promote human rights and democracy in both countries. Michael has also served as the head of the Human Rights Unit in the Bureau of International Organizations’ Office of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, overseeing implementation of U.S. policy for the UN Human Rights Council and other multilateral human rights bodies.
Michael was the peace process officer in Israel during the Annapolis process and the subsequent mission of Senator George Mitchell as the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace (SEMEP). In addition, Michael has worked on the crisis in Darfur in both Washington and Khartoum, and helped open the Consulate General -- now Embassy -- in Juba, South Sudan, where he supported implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Other tours included Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe, and serving in the Bahamas. Michael has received over a dozen individual and group Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards for his efforts to achieve peace, promote human rights, and help those in need. Michael was given the State Department’s 2014 Democracy and Human Rights Achievement Award for his work in Sri Lanka. In 2015, he received the Palmer Award for the Advancement of Democracy from the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA).
Prior to joining the Department of State, Michael was an advertising executive in New York. Michael graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in creative writing and a minor in architecture. He has also studied film at New York University, and has completed the Naval War College Command and Staff program. Michael is married with three children.