June 20, 2024

Dennis Hankins serving as US Ambassador to Mali amid formative time for future of democracy

US Ambassador Dennis B. Hankins, US Embassy Mali
US Ambassador Dennis B. Hankins, US Embassy Mali

Dennis B. Hankins has been serving as the United States Ambassador to Mali since March of 2019 and has thus held the position amid two separate coup d’etats.

Ambassador Hankins has represented the United States to Mali during one of the most formative periods in the nation’s history. Hankins has a tremendous responsibility as he is a voice for the democratic interests of the United States in Mali.

Mali has been very politically unstable over the past few years. During Dennis Hankins’s time as US Ambassador in the capital city of Bamako, Mali has undergone three changes of power and now plans to transition toward a new government.

“The United States acknowledges the announcement by Mali’s transition government of a 24-month transition timetable starting in March 2022. We urge the Malian transition government to make sustained, tangible action toward holding elections, including detailed benchmarks and the early adoption of the electoral law,” said U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price via a June 9 press statement.

As Mali’s military-led transitional government plans to move the nation toward holding free and fair elections, the United States could be an important partner in ensuring that democracy and human rights are prioritized in this process.

Ambassador Hankins is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. Prior to being appointed as ambassador to Mali, he served as US Ambassador to Guinea from 2015 to 2018. Throughout his career, he has served all over Africa and the rest of the world including Sudan, Mauritania, DR Congo, Mozambique, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Portugal.

Ambassador Dennis Hankins has a Bachelor’s of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Master’s degree from the National War College.

Mali scored a 32 out of 100 on Freedomhouse’s 2022 freedom in the world index. This is a 9 point decrease since before the 2020 coup d’etat took place, indicating that democracy in Mali has been on the decline in recent years.

The nation of Mali faces a critical point that will have a tremendous impact on the future of the country. The rhetoric of the Biden administration has repeatedly expressed plans to establish the United States as a global force for democratic values around the world. If this is the case, then it could play a vital role in ensuring the democratic future of Mali.

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