Pjer Šimunović Croatia’s New Ambassador to United States

By 20 March 2017

After a long delay, it seems that the decision on the new ambassador in Washington has been made.

According to unofficial sources, Pjer Šimunović is expected to become the new Croatian ambassador to the United States. His appointment will be part of the a larger group of about twenty new ambassadors whose names will be submitted to the official procedure, which includes obtaining approvals from the host counties, reports Jutarnji List on March 20, 2017.

The selection of Šimunović, who is currently Chief of Staff of the National Security Council and a long-time diplomat, is a good decision because he is a skilful diplomat and expert on military and defence issues with a dazzling professional career. He has good relations with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, on whose initiative he was appointed to his current position, but also with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier. If there are no further problems, it is expected that Šimunović could replace the outgoing ambassador Joško Paro before the summer.

Šimunović was born in Split in 1962 and he has extensive experience in journalism. After completing studies in comparative literature and Italian literature, in the 1990s he worked for Večernji List daily as a global affairs journalist and analyst. He interned at the Fondation Journalistes in Paris and worked for the BBC as a reporter and producer.

He has a master’s degree in war studies from the Department of War Studies at King's College London, and after returning to Croatia he became deputy head of Department for Analysis at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In March 2000, he became first secretary and a counsellor at the Croatian Embassy in Paris. He then became assistant foreign minister, in charge of the Directorate for International Organisations and Security, and in March 2004 he was appointed the national coordinator for NATO. He then moved to the Defence Department, where in 2008 he became the director of defence policy and state secretary. He was later appointed as ambassador to Israel. He speaks English, French and Italian and is the author of many political and defence studies published in reputable international publications.

Šimunović was already mentioned once as a candidate for ambassadorship in Washington several years ago. However, then President Ivo Josipović later decided to appoint Paro, while Šimunović continued his professional career. He was a very active ambassador in Israel, despite delicate political and diplomatic circumstances, and the appointment as ambassador to Washington will be the crown of his diplomatic career.