The Foreign Service Journal - April 2017
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APRIL 2017



Ambassador Nancy J. Powell to Receive

AFSA’s Premier Award

The American Foreign Ser-

vice Association is proud to

announce that Ambassador

Nancy J. Powell will receive

the AFSA 2017 Lifetime

Contributions to American

Diplomacy Award in honor

of her outstanding career

in the Foreign Service and

enduring dedication to


Amb. Powell is the 23rd

recipient of this award,

and the fourth woman to

be honored. The award will

be presented at the AFSA

Awards Ceremony on June

20 at 4 p.m. in the Benjamin

Franklin Diplomatic Recep-

tion Room at the Depart-

ment of State.

Nancy Jo Powell was

born in Cedar Falls, Iowa, in

1947 and earned her B.A in

history and teaching from

the University of Northern

Iowa in 1970. She taught

high school social studies in

Dayton, Iowa, before joining

the Foreign Service in 1977.

Throughout her 37-year

diplomatic career and into

retirement, Amb. Powell

never stopped learning and

taking on new challenges.

She has served in a variety

of high-level positions both

overseas and in Washington,

D.C. She led the U.S. govern-

ment response to avian flu

and Ebola, two of the most

high-profile disease threats

of the past several decades.

She has devoted a signifi-

cant amount of her talent

and energy to mentoring

future leaders of the Foreign


Amb. Powell was

appointed to her first

ambassadorship in 1997,

serving as U.S. ambassa-

dor to Uganda until 1999.

Subsequently she served

as ambassador to Ghana,

Pakistan, Nepal and India.

Earlier in her career, she

served overseas in Canada,

as a consular officer in

Nepal and as deputy chief of

mission in Togo and Bangla-

desh, as well as postings in

Washington, D.C.

From 2009 to 2012, Amb.

Powell was the Director

General of the Foreign Ser-

vice and Director of Human

Resources. She also served

as the national intelligence

officer for South Asia at

the National Intelligence


For her service as the

State Department’s senior

coordinator for avian

influenza, she received

the Homeland Security

Samuel J. Heyman Service

to America Medal (known as

the Sammies) from the Part-

nership for Public Service in


Following her retire-

ment in 2014, Amb. Powell

continued to work for Ameri-

can interests, coordinating

the State Department’s

response to the Ebola virus

and mentoring ambassado-

rial seminar classes.

Many in the Foreign Ser-

vice community have wit-

nessed Amb. Powell’s gift for

identifying and developing

talent at all levels. In 2003,

she received the Arnold L.

Raphel Memorial Award in

recognition of her efforts to

promote and develop the

people around her, espe-

cially entry-level officers.

Amb. Powell joins an

impressive list of previous

recipients of this award,

including George H.W.

Bush, Ruth Davis, Thomas

Pickering, George Shultz,

Richard Lugar, Joan Clark,

Tom Boyatt, Sam Nunn,

Rozanne Ridgway, Charles

Stuart Kennedy and William


We invite all AFSA mem-

bers to join us in honoring

Ambassador Powell, as well

as this year’s recipients of

AFSA’s dissent and perfor-

mance awards, at the June

20 awards ceremony. Con-

tact AFSA Awards Coordina-

tor Perri Green at green@ for additional



—Theodore Horn,

Communications Intern


Nancy J. Powell