The histories of the United States of America and Suriname are intertwined and richly similar. First settled by the Amerindians, later by the British, and then by the Dutch, Suriname was ceded by the British to the Dutch in exchange for Nieuw Amsterdam, or what is now known as modern day Manhattan, in the Treaty of Breda in 1667. Descendants of slaves brought from Africa, contract laborers from India, Indonesia, and China, and immigrants from all around the world contribute to the ethnic mix that gives Suriname its nickname, “the Little United Nations.” the United States and Suriname enjoy a diplomatic relationship that stretches back to 1790 and the commissioning of the first American consul to the then-Dutch colony. Throughout the following centuries, the United States has maintained a positive presence that has enabled the Post to grow, becoming first a consular agency, and later a full embassy following Suriname’s independence in 1975.
The U.S. Embassy in Suriname aims to promote U.S. interests by strengthening democracy and encouraging the adoption of policies that spur economic growth and development. The Embassy focuses on strengthening the capabilities of Suriname’s legal, judicial, health, education, media, and trade systems through workshops, trainings, donations, information exchange, partnership programs, and promotion of investment opportunities.
Due to Suriname’s rich cultural and ethnic history, the celebration and preservation of culture has also been a major focus of the U.S. Embassy in Paramaribo. In a span of six years beginning in 2002, three grants from the Ambassadors’ Fund for Cultural Preservation have supported a seventeenth century Jewish settlement archaeological site, the translation of rare Moravian church manuscripts, and the preservation and teaching of traditional folk music.
The U.S. Embassy is led by Ambassador Karen Lynn Williams, supported by Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Keays. State Department offices include the Consular section, Management section, Political and Economic section, Public Affairs section, and Regional Security Office.