Rudolf Simon Bekink was born in Assen, a town of about 67,000 people in the northeastern part of the Netherlands. He earned his master of arts in economy from the University of Groningen in 1974. Two years later he began working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the beginning of his diplomatic career, he worked in Athens (Greece), Luanda (Angola) and the East Asia Division of the Foreign Ministry. From 1982-1986, Mr. Bekink served as the first secretary for the Political Department in the Embassy in Washington, D.C. covering Africa, Latin America, Europe, and protocol. From there he became chargé d'affaires to Ghana until 1989 before taking positions as Deputy Head of Division, Ministry of Economic Affairs (1989-1990); Personnel Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1990-1992); and Deputy Head of Mission Dutch Permanent Representation to the OECD Paris, France, (1992-1997). Mr. Bekink then served as Director of Protocol for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1997-2000. He most recently served as the ambassador to the People's Republic of China (2008-2012) after stints as ambassador to Belgium (2004-2008) and Sweden (2000-2004).
He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife Gabrielle de Kuyper and has three grown sons. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Humanity in Action, Inc.