Trump taps Tufts University alum to be next ambassador to Laos

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) talks to US Embassy Charge d'Affaires Peter M. Haymond (center) during the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok on Aug. 2.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) talks to US Embassy Charge d'Affaires Peter M. Haymond (center) during the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok on Aug. 2. AFP/Getty Images

President Trump has tapped a Tufts University alum to serve as the next ambassador to Laos.

In a statement Tuesday, the White House said Trump will nominate Peter M. Haymond as ambassador to the southeast Asian nation, officially named the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

Haymond’s a Foreign Service lifer.

The statement described him as “a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor. He currently serves as Chargé d’Affaires at the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. Over nearly 30 years in the Foreign Service, Mr. Haymond has advanced United States policy in Asia through his work as Director of the State Department’s Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs, Consul General at the United States Consulate in Chengdu, China, and Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Vientiane, Laos.”


That’s not all.

“Mr. Haymond also served as Division Chief in the Office of Energy and Commodities in the Bureau of Economic and Energy Affairs at the Department of State, and as Arabian Peninsula Officer in the Office of the Counterterrorism Coordinator,” the White House said. “Mr. Haymond earned a B.A. from Brigham Young University and an M.A.L.D. and Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He speaks Lao, Thai, Mandarin, and French.”

His nomination requires Senate confirmation.

Haymond spoke about his background and professional life in a 2017 interview posted to the Tufts website.

“I was born in Seattle, where my dad was working at Boeing,” Haymond told Tufts. “We left there when I was three and continued on a series of moves including two and a half years in Thailand in the 1960s, which I call the ‘Oz of my childhood’ — bright, exotic memories from [age] seven to nine. I went to middle and high school in Prince William County in northern Virginia, and then went on to undergraduate at Brigham Young University. My dad was originally from Utah and I had only visited relatives there, so it was a way to get in touch with my Mormon roots.”


Haymond also discussed how he wound up studying at the vaunted Fletcher School at Tufts.

“While in Utah, I took two years off to do voluntary missionary service. They sent me back to Thailand, and that’s when I learned Thai,” Haymond told Tufts. “Coming back from that experience, I was studying economics and international relations. I was interested in something international. I was looking at law school, but in the end decided I wasn’t really interested in being a lawyer. The best lecturing professor I had during my undergraduate years was head of the IR department, and when I started to look at graduate programs, he called me in and told me about this graduate school for international affairs out in Boston.”

In addition, Haymond, who received his doctorate from Tufts in 1994, told his alma mater that he enjoys representing the US as a diplomat.

“I had lived in Thailand twice, was interested in economics and international economic development,” he said. “I like living in countries for extended periods of time to get a feel for the people and language and the culture, and the Foreign Service offered that while being able to represent the American people. For me, it’s been a great bargain.”

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.