Yousif Ghafari

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Yousif B. Ghafari
United States Ambassador to Slovenia
In office
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Thomas Bolling Robertson
Succeeded by Joseph A. Mussomeli
Personal details
Born (1952-09-27) September 27, 1952 (age 66)
Alma El-Chaab, Lebanon
Political party Republican
Profession Diplomat
Religion Maronite Christian

Yousif Boutrous Ghafari (sometimes Youssef B. Ghafari, born September 27, 1952[1]), American businessman of Lebanese birth, owner of architectural firm Ghafari Associates LLC,[2] former United States Ambassador to Slovenia.[3] During the Senate confirmation hearings, then-Senator Barack Obama called Ghafari "an immigrant who has truly lived the American dream."[4]

Born in Alma El-Chaab, Lebanon, "in a home with no electricity, phone or running water," Ghafari moved to the United States in 1972.[5] He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics in 1974, a Master of Arts in Applied Mathematics and Computer Applications in 1975, and a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1977, from Wayne State University.[6]

In 2004 and 2005, Ghafari was a public delegate to the United Nations General Assembly.[7]

His alma mater named one of its residence halls in his honor after he donated $9 million to the school.[8] The school gave him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on May 3, 2008.[9] He was notified of the degree the same week the Senate confirmed his ambassadorship.[10]

A significant donor to the Republican party,[11] Ghafari is considered one of "the active, vocal and successful Republican leaders of the Michigan Arab-American community."[12]

On May 25, 2008, Ghafari presented his diplomatic credentials to Dimitrij Rupel in Ljubljana. He was received by Slovenian President Danilo Türk on May 29. He climbed Mount Triglav, making him "an honorary Slovenian."[13] On January 20, 2009, when Barack Obama was sworn in as U. S. President, Ghafari's term ended.


  1. Ambassador's biography, U. S. Embassy in Slovenia website
  2. Marion Ringe, "Diplomatic warrior" Wayne State: The Magazine for Members of the Wayne State University Alumni Association 2008 Vol 22, No. 3, p. 33
  3. Kathleen Gray, "Businessman in line to be U.S. ambassador" Detroit Free Press April 15, 2008
  4. Clive Leviev-Sawyer, "Barack Obama warns on crime and corruption in Bulgaria", April 9, 2008. Accessed May 5, 2008.
  5. Alex P. Kellogg, "Bloomfield Hills man becomes Slovenia ambassador" Detroit Free Press May 27, 2008.
  6. [1]'" Accessed August 6, 2008.
  7. Kellogg, ibid.
  8. Tom Sakely, "Wayne State names residence hall for benefactor Yousif B. Ghafari", Wayne State University press release, October 25, 2005. Accessed May 3, 2008.
  9. Tom Sakely, "Wayne State University commencement ceremonies set for Saturday, May 3, at Tom Adams Field on campus" Wayne State University press release, April 28, 2008.
  10. Shawn Wright, "Harwell, Ghafari awarded Doctor of Laws degrees," The South End May 7–13, 2008, p. 3
  11. Gray (2008), ibid. "Ghafari has been a loyal Republican donor, giving nearly $340,000 almost exclusively to GOP candidates and causes during the last 10 years."
  12. Ismael Ahmed, "Michigan Arab Americans: A Case Study of Electoral and Non-Electoral Empowerment" in American Arabs and Political Participation, Proceedings of a Conference sponsored by the Division of United States Studies, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, May 5, 2006, ed. Phillipa Strum. Accessed May 5, 2008. (2006): 48
  13. Sydney Redigan, "Ghafari returns after 9 months as ambassador" Exemplar (Detroit, Michigan) April 2009, p. 68