Anne Elizabeth Derse, a career Foreign Service Officer with the rank of Minister Counselor, served for over thirty years with the U.S. Department of State in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. She was U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania 2009-2012 and to Azerbaijan 2006-2009. Earlier in her career, she held senior positions managing economic relations at the U.S. Mission to the European Union and at the U.S. Embassies in Korea, the Philippines and in Belgium, where she also served as the last U.S. Commissioner on the Tripartite Gold Commission. She served as Special Assistant for Asia and Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs. She worked as Director for Bio-defense Policy at the Homeland Security Council at the White House in 2005-06, helping to write the President’s Plan for Fighting Pandemic Influenza, and in 2004-05, she assisted in establishing the new U.S. Embassy in Iraq, serving as Economic Minister-Counselor.
Since retiring from the State Department in 2012, Derse has been active in support of the Exchanges for Culture, Education and Leadership (ExCEL) High School Exchange Program which she established in Lithuania. She has continued her interest in efforts to address the legacy of the Holocaust begun during her career. Derse is also active in the lay leadership of St. John’s Norwood Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland, serving as Program and Community Life Coordinator and working in pastoral care ministries and on international and property matters in which the church is engaged.
For achievement throughout her diplomatic career, Derse holds a Presidential Meritorious Service Award, both of the State Department’s top economic awards, the Herbert Salzmann Award for Excellence in International Economic Performance and the Cordell Hull Award for Senior Economic Achievement, and six Department of State Superior Honor Awards. In 2014, she received the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Leadership Award, the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture Award of Excellence and was admitted to the American Academy of Diplomacy. She joined the Board of the American Councils for International Education in 2015.
Derse received a B.A. in French and Linguistics from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1976 and an M.A. in International Relations from John’s Hopkins SAIS in 1981. She speaks French, Italian, Lithuanian and Azerbaijani. She is married to former diplomat and current Executive Director of the U.S.-Philippines Society Hank Hendrickson. They have four children.