Vicki Huddleston is an American diplomat and expert on US—Cuban relations and African Affairs. She is the author of Our Woman in Havana: A Diplomat’s Chronicle of America’s Long Struggle with Castro’s Cuba, which is based on her three years in Havana as the head of the American diplomatic mission.
Ambassador Huddleston served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as well as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa. She was the American ambassador to Madagascar and to the Republic of Mali; and head of the American diplomatic mission to Cuba — the United States Interests Section — before it was up-graded to an embassy. She was acting ambassador in Ethiopia, Deputy Chief of Mission in Haiti, and Director and Deputy Director of Cuban Affairs at the Department of State. She was awarded the Department of State’s Distinguished Honor Award, the Secretary’s Career Achievement Award, and two Presidential Meritorious Service Award.
Vicki was a member of the Obama-Biden transition team and a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow on the staff of former Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). She was a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution, where she managed a project on United States policy toward Cuba. Prior to joining the State Department, she worked for the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) in Peru and Brazil. She began her overseas career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru.
Huddleston earned a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins School Advanced International Studies and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado.
Vicki is the co-author of Learning to Salsa: New Steps in U.S.-Cuba Relations and opinion pieces on Cuba, Mali, and Ethiopia published in The New York Times, The Miami Herald, The Los Angeles Times, The Globe and Mail, and The Washington Post, and a popular speaker.
She has two children, Robert a professor at NYU and Alexandra a landscape photographer