Ambassador James Joseph

Ambassador James A. Joseph is Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Studies and Executive Director of the United States -Southern Africa Center for Leadership and Public Values at Duke University. Nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the United States Senate in December 1995, he was the first and only American Ambassador to present his credentials to President Nelson Mandela. In 1999, President Thabo Mbeki awarded him the Order of Good Hope, the highest honor the Republic of South Africa bestows on a citizen of another country. Ambassador Joseph has had a distinguished career in government, business, education and philanthropy. From 1982-1995, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Foundations, an international organization of more than 1900 foundations and corporate giving programs. Mr. Joseph also served as Under Secretary of the Interior from 1977-1981 and a Vice President of Cummins Engine Company and President of the Cummins Engine Foundation from 1971-1976. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, he has taught at Yale Divinity School and the Claremont Colleges where he was also University Chaplain. In 1985, he was a Distinguished Visitor at Nuffield College at Oxford University and he serves presently as Honorary Professor and a member of the Board of Advisors at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town. Ambassador Joseph has served four U.S. Presidents. He was appointed to the number two position in the Department of the Interior by President Jimmy Carter and also served as Chairman of the Commission on the Northern Marianas. He was a member of the Advisory Committee to the Agency for International Development under President Reagan, and was appointed an incorporating director of the Points of Light Foundation and a member of the Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges by President Bush. President Clinton appointed him the first Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National Service.Born in Opelousas, Louisiana, and a graduate of Southern University and Yale Divinity School, Ambassador Joseph began his career as an officer in the U.S. Army and later taught at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he was a leader of the local civil rights movement. A frequent speaker to academic, civic and religious audiences, he is the author of two books, The Charitable Impulse and Remaking America. A third book on The Changing Role of Ethics in Public Life is near completion.