Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2013: Rick Yoneoka
In August 2012, Rick Yoneoka arrived in The Gambia to serve as the Deputy Chief of Mission. Immediately prior to his arrival in Banjul, he served as the deputy economic counselor and petroleum attache in Venezuela. He is a 2008 graduate of the Foreign Service Institute’s mid-level economic course.
Rick’s previous tours include the Office of Policy, Planning, and Coordination/ Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA/PPC), Germany, and Burundi. In addition to helping manage WHA’s strategic planning process, he oversaw its $2 billion foreign assistance budget. Originally assigned as a political officer in Embassy Berlin, Ambassador Dan Coats asked Rick to serve his second year in Germany as the Ambassador’s staff assistant. He began his Foreign Service career in Bujumbura, Burundi as the general services officer, managing a staff of seventy employees and a multimillion dollar budget. He is the recipient of the Department of State’s Superior Honor and Meritorious Awards and was nominated for State Department’s General Service Officer of the Year.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Rick worked in Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter’s District Office in his hometown of Rochester, New York. In between earning a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and his bachelors in international relations and German from Tufts University, Rick taught English at the University of Lodz, Poland.
Rick is addicted to all sports, but specifically enjoys soccer, basketball, softball, and golfing. He is an Eagle Scout and loves the outdoors.