Ambassador Dana Shell Smith, who represents the United States to the government of Qatar -- one of the Muslim states on the Arabian Peninsula -- posted her dismay over having to explain her country's current political situation.
She tweeted: "Increasingly difficult to wake up overseas to news from home, knowing I will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions."
Increasingly difficult to wake up overseas to news from home, knowing I will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions.— Dana Shell Smith (@AmbDana) May 10, 2017
Nominated by Barack Obama, Shell Smith was confirmed to her current post in 2014. Even while American ambassadors are normally required to tender their resignations upon a change at the White House, Shell Smith has remained in Doha, the capital of Qatar. She previously served in the Department of State during the Obama administration as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs from 2011 to 2014 and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Media. She speaks Spanish, Hebrew, Chinese, and Arabic.
Shell Smith stirred controversy with a response to an article written by colleagues. The president of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), Susan Johnson, wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in 2013 denouncing what she and her co-authors saw as a breakdown in the Foreign Service system in favor of political appointees and regular civil service employees during the Obama administration. Shell Smith and another Foreign Service officer circulated a letter that disagreed with Johnson and co-authors. Firing back, eleven former AFSA presidents asked the Senate Foreign Relations Committee not to approve Shell Smith’s nomination. However, the Democrat-controlled committee approved her appointment and sent it to the full Senate for consideration on June 24, 2014.