An active-duty member of the American
Foreign Service for more than 30 years, Barbara Stephenson was elected
President of the American Foreign Service Association in 2015.
Previously, Stephenson served as dean of
the Leadership and Management School at the Foreign Service Institute
where she launched and co-chaired the department-wide Culture of
Leadership Initiative. In 2008, she was appointed ambassador to Panama
and later became the first female Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé
d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in London.
As Deputy Senior Adviser to the Secretary
and Deputy Coordinator for Iraq (2006-2008), she won the State
Department’s Distinguished Honor Award for developing and implementing
the “civilian surge” that helped improve governance and reduce violence
in Iraq’s provinces. Before taking up Iraq duties, Stephenson served as
Director for Planning in the Office of the Coordinator for
Reconstruction and Stabilization.
From 2001-2004, as the American Consul
General in Belfast, Northern Ireland, she worked on the Northern Ireland
Peace Process. From 1998-2001, she served as Consul General and
Chief of Mission in Curaçao. Earlier in her career, Stephenson served as
special assistant to Under Secretaries for Political Affairs Peter
Tarnoff and Tom Pickering, covering European affairs, including the
war-torn Balkans. Other assignments have included position in the UK,
South Africa, The Hague, San Salvador, and Panama. She is a member of
the Advisory Boards for Global Ties, World Affairs Council DC, and the
Stephenson holds a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in English literature from the University of Florida.