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Lessons from a Diplomatic Career in Africa with Ambassador Mary Yates

March 22, 2022 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

In this Diplomatic Discussion on March 22, former Ambassador Mary Yates will share personal experiences from her career spanning 30 years in the American Foreign Service with the U.S. Department of State and discuss the challenges she believes future global leaders will face with diplomacy. Pizza will be served to attendees immediately following the event.

Past generations have left global challenges that the students of today must address tomorrow. Mary Yates knows that firsthand through her appointments as U.S. ambassador to both Ghana and Burundi and as former charge d’affaires (or acting ambassador) in Khartoum, Sudan. Yates has worked to end conflicts and build peace in Central Africa, support humanitarian efforts for internally displaced persons and refugees, promote democracy and the free press from Bujumbura to Khartoum, partner with Ghanaians to qualify for a $500M U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation grant, play a role in the battle of HIV AIDS, help DOD build the new US Africa Command, and draft President Obama’s 2010 National Security strategy.

Yates’ final assignment was special assistant to the president (SAP) and senior director for African Affairs at the White House National Security Council in 2011 after serving as senior advisor and SAP for strategic planning from June 2009 to December 2010, and as deputy to the commander for Civil-Military Activities (DCMA) for the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) from October 2007 to May 2009. She also previously served as a political officer and public affairs counselor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly known as Zaire, from 1991 to 1995 during the critical period of genocide in neighboring Rwanda. Yates retired as a senior Foreign Service officer in 2011 after 31 years with State Department.

This event is hosted through the Diplomacy Initiative of the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs. Learn more about other events and mentorship opportunities.

Register for the Event


March 22, 2022
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


Nelson Mandela Auditorium, Fedex Global Center
301 Pittsboro St
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States
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