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U.S. Department of State

Department Seal      Biography

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Dennis K. Hays
Ambassador to Suriname

Dennis K. Hays Dennis K. Hays, a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, as nominated by President Clinton to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Suriname on March 22, 1996. He was sworn in office on February 28, 1997, and presented his credentials to President Jules Wijdenbosch on March 14, 1997.

Ambassador Hays was born on June 1, 1953 in California. He joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1976 and first served in Kingston, Jamaica. In 1979, Ambassador Hays returned to Washington and worked as an advance man for Presidential and Vice-Presidential visits overseas. In 1982, he was elected President of the Foreign Service Association (AFSA), the union and professional voice of the Foreign Service worldwide. On completing his second term as AFSA president in 1985, he was assigned as Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) at the American Embassy in Bujumbura, Burundi. In 1988, he transferred to Georgetown, Guyana, serving first as DCM and then as Charge d' Affaires. From June 1993 until May 1995, Ambassador Hays was the Coordinator for Cuban Affairs at the Department of State. His last assignment before nomination as U.S. Ambassador to Suriname was as Director of the Office for Mexican Affairs at the Department of State from June 1995 until August 1996.

Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Hays worked on the staff of Congressman Charles E. Bennett of Florida.

Ambassador Hays earned an undergraduate degree in American Studies from the University of Florida and a Master degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University. He is also a 1993 graduate of the National War College. He speaks French and Dutch.

Ambassador Hays has been awarded the State Department's Superior Honor Award four times (1981, 1987, 1991 and 1995) and the Meritorious Honor Award once (1979). He is married and has four children.

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