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MARCH 2016




The American Foreign Service

Association is proud to

name Ambassador Ruth A.

Davis the 2016 recipient of

its Lifetime Contributions to

American Diplomacy Award

in honor of her dis-

tinguished Foreign

Service career and

lifelong devotion to


The award will

be presented at

the AFSA Awards

Ceremony on June

23, at 4 p.m., in the

Benjamin Franklin

Diplomatic Reception Room

at the Department of State.

Ambassador Davis was

born in 1943 and earned her

bachelor’s degree (magna

cum laude) from Spelman

College and master’s degree

from the University of Califor-

nia, Berkeley.

During her 40-year career

in the Foreign Service, she

served as chief of staff in the

Africa Bureau, distinguished

adviser for international

affairs at Howard University,

Director General of the For-

eign Service and director of

human resources, director of

the Foreign Service Institute,

principal deputy assistant

secretary for consular affairs,

ambassador to the Republic

of Benin and consul general

in Barcelona. Earlier in her

career, she was a consular

officer in Kinshasa, Nairobi,

Tokyo and Naples.

Davis established FSI’s

School of Leadership and

Management in 1999,

improved crisis management

instruction and training for

locally employed staff, and

led the Diplomatic Readiness

Initiative that

boosted Foreign

Service hiring. She

has also helped to

increase diversity

in the Foreign

Service, particu-

larly as president

and adviser to the

Thursday Lun-

cheon Group.

Since her retirement in

2009, Amb. Davis has served

as the chair (and a founding

member) of the International

Women’s Entrepreneurial

Challenge, an organiza-

tion devoted to promoting

women’s economic empow-


She also chairs the

selection committee for the

Charles B. Rangel Interna-

tional Affairs Fellowship at

Howard University’s Ralph

Bunche International Affairs

Center. As vice president

of the Association of Black

American Ambassadors,

she participates in activities

involving the recruitment,

preparation, hiring, retention,

mentoring and promotion

of minority Foreign Service


Davis currently serves on

the Board of Visitors for the

Defense Language Institute,

the Board of Directors of the

Senior Seminar Alumni Asso-

ciation, the Advisory Council

of the Foreign Service Youth



Ambassador Ruth A. Davis to Receive

AFSA’S Premier Award

Foundation and the Board

of the American Academy

of Diplomacy. She is vice

president of the Washington

Institute of Foreign Affairs,

and president of the Interna-

tional Mission of Mercy, USA.

She is a senior adviser

to the Thursday Luncheon

Group and the Interna-

tional Career Advancement

Program at the University

of Denver, where she serves

annually as a counselor and

speaker and was honored

with ICAP’s first Diversity

Award for visionary leader-

ship and fostering diversity

within foreign affairs. Finally,

Davis is a member of AFSA

and the Association for Diplo-

matic Studies and Training.

Davis has received the

Department of State’s Supe-

rior Honor Award, Arnold L.

Raphel Memorial Award and

Equal Employment Opportu-

nity Award; the Secretary of

State’s Achievement Award;

the Director General’s Foreign

Service Cup; two Presiden-

tial Distinguished Service

Awards; and Honorary Doc-

torates of Law fromMiddle-

bury and Spelman Colleges.

She was recently named to

The Economist’s

2015 Global

Diversity List as one of the

Top 50 Diversity Figures in

Public Life.

Previous recipients of the

AFSA award include George

H.W. Bush, Thomas Pickering,

George Shultz, Richard Lugar,

Joan Clark, Tom Boyatt, Sam

Nunn, Rozanne Ridgway,

Charles Stuart Kennedy and

William Harrop.


—Soren Smallwood,

Awards Intern


Ambassador Ruth A. Davis with FSO Clayton Bond at AFSA’s May 22, 2014,

gala dinner at the State Department celebrating the 90th anniversary of

the Foreign Service.

Ruth A. Davis