Christopher Datta

Christopher Datta

Mr. Datta is the author of three novels, Touched with Fire (2013), The Demon Stone (2014) and Fire and Dust (2014). His memoir, Guardians of the Grail: A Life of Diplomacy on the Edge, was released on May 25th, 2018. He has also written a movie script. He is also finishing a detective novel and another movie script, both due out later this year.

He began his career as a Foreign Service Officer working in the United States Information Agency and was first assigned to southern India for two years. From there he went to Jordan where he was the Cultural Affairs Officer.

He went to Sudan as the Public Affairs Officer in 1993, and was assigned as the first Public Affairs Officer to Eritrea in 1994 where he served for three years. Also while in Eritrea, he was asked to go on a temporary tour of duty to Rwanda to help reopen the U.S. embassy following the genocide there.

He was the desk officer for Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon at USIA from 1996 to 1998. During that period he went on two short assignments to Beirut as the acting Public Affairs Officer.

He had a Congressional Fellowship in 1999 and worked on the Hill in the office of Congressman Steve Rothman from New Jersey.

In late 1999 he went to Senegal as the Public Affairs Officer and for six months was also the acting Deputy Chief of Mission.

From 2001 to 2003 he joined the State Department and was the Deputy Director in the Office of West African Affairs when he was sent out to be Charge d'Affaires at the embassy in Sierra Leone for a month in 2002 at the end of the civil war there, and then went to Liberia in 2003 to be Charge when the ambassador had to leave for several weeks. While there, rebels attacked Monrovia and he organized the evacuation of 150 Americans using French military helicopters out of Cote d'Ivoire. He also was assigned to see President Charles Taylor and was the first to tell him that the USG wanted him to leave the country. At one point, he was nearly killed by Taylor's troops after being accused by Taylor of coup plotting against him. He also helped to bring the notorious war criminal Sam Bokarie to justice.

He took on the assignment as the Consul General in Juba in Southern Sudan in 2008, and returned again as the Charge and then Deputy Chief of Mission in 2011 when, again as Charge, he helped to end a war between Sudan and South Sudan.

Mr. Datta is married to Debra Datta and lives in Washington, DC on Capital Hill and has a son, an adopted war orphan from Sierra Leone.

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