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Albert R. Ramdin was elected OAS Assistant Secretary General on June 7, 2005, and took office on July 19. The Surinamese diplomat has had a distinguished career in public service at the national and international level, serving before his election to the OAS as Ambassador at Large and Special Adviser to the Government of the Republic of Suriname on Western Hemispheric Affairs. In Suriname, Ramdin served as Senior Adviser to the Minister of Trade and Industry, where he was intensively involved in restructuring the ministry and implementing an industrial development program. In the mid-1990s, he worked for two years in the private sector before returning to public service when he was appointed Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Finance. In 1997, Ramdin became his country’s Permanent Representative to the OAS, and two years later, he was also appointed to serve concurrently as Suriname’s non-resident Ambassador to Costa Rica. As Ambassador to the OAS, Ramdin chaired the Permanent Council (January-March 1998) and the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (1999), and coordinated the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassadors Caucus during Suriname’s chairmanship of the subregional group. In 1999, he joined the CARICOM Secretariat as Assistant Secretary-General for Foreign and Community Relations, where he was responsible for coordinating CARICOM’s foreign policy and strengthening relations among its member states. He played a leading role in increasing cooperation with the Central American Integration System and the Andean Community. Ramdin coordinated CARICOM’s technical preparations for the Third Summit of the Americas and was instrumental in ensuring that key issues were included in its Declaration and Plan of Action. In 2001, Ramdin was named Adviser to the OAS Secretary General, with special attention to the Caribbean. He continued his close engagement with the situation in Haiti, dealt with issues of priority for small states, monitored the hemispheric trade agenda and briefed the General Secretariat on Caribbean concerns.