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.
The Fredericksburg, Virginia, native 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, and completed coursework and was advanced to candidacy for the PhD degree from the American University School of International Service. Here are 10 things you may not know about Pamela E. Bridgewater:
1 Pamela Bridgewater is the granddaughter of a Baptist minister, and is also married to one. Her maternal grandfather was pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia, for 40 years, and her husband, the Rev A. Russell Awkard Jr, has been pastor of the New Zion Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, for 39 years.
2 She is a musician's daughter. Her late father, Joe Bridgewater, was a professional trumpeter who was featured on the album The Great Ray Charles.
3 Ambassador Bridgewater was Miss Virginia State University 1967.
4 Ambassador Bridgewater is a lover and supporter of the fine arts. Her personal art collection includes dozens of original works by American artist Johnny Jonson; works of Edna Manley and Barrington Watson, and African art including bronze figures from Benin, soapstone statues from South Africa, and authentic Kente cloth from Ghana.
5 She was a political science university professor before she became a diplomat. She lectured at Morgan State University and Bowie State University in Maryland, and Voorhees College in South Carolina. Minister Anthony Hylton is one of her former Morgan State students.
6 At the height of the most recent civil war in Liberia, the ambassador was named special coordinator for peace in Liberia and spearheaded the efforts that led to a comprehensive peace agreement and democratic elections in the war-torn nation.
7 She has served as deputy assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, and was the first African-American woman to serve as principal officer (consul general) in Durban, South Africa. She has the distinction of being the longest-serving United States diplomat in South Africa during the historic transition from Apartheid to a non-racial government.
8 As the political officer assigned to cover Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress, Ambassador Bridgewater enjoyed a special relationship with Nelson Mandela.
9 The ambassador is a techie - she delivers speeches from her iPad, and posts messages to the embassy's Facebook fans from her Facebook profile.
10 She has been served as US ambassador in three countries. She was assigned to the Republic of Benin by President Clinton, The Republic of Ghana by President George W. Bush, and now Chief of the United States Mission in Jamaica by President Obama.