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Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater has enjoyed a celebrated career as a United States Foreign Service officer who has led diplomatic efforts that helped change the course of world events. A native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Ambassador Bridgewater earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Virginia State University, received a master of arts degree in political science from the University of Cincinnati. She advanced to candidacy for the PhD degree from the American University School of International Service. Before joining the diplomatic corps, she was a professor at Morgan State University, Bowie State University, and Voorhees College. As a professor, she was a role model for excellence and encouraged her students who later distinguished themselves in foreign affairs, law, and academia. As a professor, she intellectually challenged and encouraged her students, who later distinguished themselves in law, foreign affairs, state government, academics, and as authors. As a Foreign Service Officer, she shared her vast experience with new officers, providing opportunities that challenged and enabled them to excel professionally. She continues to mentor diverse students and those interested in careers in foreign affairs.

A Foreign Service Career Minister, Ambassador Bridgewater’s overseas tours include Belgium, The Bahamas, South Africa, Benin, Ghana and Jamaica. She served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and was the first African-American woman to serve as principal officer in Durban, South Africa. She has the distinction of being the longest-serving U.S. diplomat in South Africa during the historic end of apartheid. Former Ambassador to South Africa the late Princeton N. Lyman wrote " Bridgewater established a degree of trust and confidence with Mr. Mandela and the ANC leadership that the U.S. had not previously enjoyed." At the height of the most recent civil war in Liberia, Ambassador Bridgewater was named Special Coordinator for Peace in Liberia. Her extraordinary accomplishments and leadership abilities led Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama to name her U.S. Ambassador to Benin, Ghana, and Jamaica, respectively.

A tireless public servant, Foreign Service mentor and advocate for women, children, and gender equality, Ambassador Bridgewater has won numerous commendations for her contributions to international affairs and public policy. She is a former president and life member of the Thursday Luncheon Group (TLG). Her awards include the U.S. Presidential Meritorious Service Award,The Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award, and Career Achievement Award, the TLG Pioneer Award and the Charles Cobb Award for Trade Promotion.

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