Elizabeth Kennedy, The Associated Press's bureau chief for East Africa until last month, has been named the news cooperative's chief of bureau in Beirut.
The appointment was announced Monday by Senior Managing Editor John Daniszewski.
Kennedy will supervise AP news coverage of Lebanon and Syria and the two countries' interactions with Israel and the West at a time when regional and international tensions with Iran are on the rise.
She succeeds correspondent Samir F. Ghattas, who resigned.
In her new role, Kennedy, 32, reports to Middle East Editor Sally Buzbee in Cairo.
"Elizabeth brings strong news leadership and management skills to this important part of the Middle East, which is at the center of many of the region's tensions," Daniszewski said. "We view this as a step to strengthen the AP's Mideast coverage."
Kennedy had been assigned to Nairobi for 3 1/2 years, the last two as bureau chief. She directed coverage and reported on Somalia's civil war and piracy off the country's lawless coast, in addition to the 2008 election crisis in Kenya and crises involving regional military power Ethiopia.
Kennedy joined the AP in 1999 as an editor in the multimedia department. She later worked for the AP in Trenton, New Jersey, where the stories she covered included the 2001 anthrax attacks and Sept. 11 detainees. She also worked as an editor on the AP's national and international desks in New York before moving to Nairobi.
In 2008, Kennedy was among three recipients of AP's Gramling Scholarship Award, a prize for outstanding staff members.
A native of Montclair, New Jersey, Kennedy holds an undergraduate degree in English literature from Barnard College in New York City.