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Ruth A.

Ruth A. Davis (born 1943) is the 24th Director General of the United States Foreign Service. She holds the distinction of being the first woman of color to be appointed as Director General of the Foreign Service and the first African-American Director of the Foreign Service Institute. In 2002, she became a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and a Career Ambassador. She is presently the Chief of Staff of the Africa Bureau of the U.S. Department of State.

Davis graduated magna cum laude from Spelman College in and received her Master’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley. As a Merrill Scholar at Spelman, Davis studied abroad in Europe and the Middle East.
In 2001, Davis was appointed by George W. Bush to the post of Director General of the Foreign Service. Prior to assuming this position, Davis served as of the Foreign Service Institute from 1977 to 2001. Ambassador Davis has also served as the Principal Deputy Director Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs (1995-1997), as Consul General in Spain and was the U.S. Ambassador to Benin from 1992 to 1995. She also served as Distinguished Advisor at the Ralph Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University from 2003 until 2005. Ambassador Davis joined the Foreign Service in 1969 as Consular Officer in Zaire and between 1971 until 1980 she went on to serve in consular affairs in Nairobi, Kenya, Tokyo, Japan and Naples, Italy.

She returned to the United States as a Pearson Fellow in Washington, DC. Ambassador Davis is credited for improving the District’s involvement in the international, economic and diplomatic arenas. She is also credited for her contribution to the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games as well as Atlanta’s successful bid for the 1996 Olympics. Described as a “Diplomatic Pioneer”, Davis has worked diligently to increase diversity among the ranks of the ranks of the international diplomatic corps. During her tenure she has been successful in attracting more diverse people into the Foreign Service. Davis has found important allies in her quest, especially her two most recent bosses: former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

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