FSI Honors ABAA president pro tem Ruth Davis

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On March 28, 2021, the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI) honored ABAA’s president pro tempore Ambassador Ruth A. Davis by naming the FSI Director’s Conference Room the Davis Conference Room.

In a combined live/virtual ceremony presided over by the acting FSI Director, and attended by Davis and her family, and senior State Department officials, including acting Under Secretary for Management Carol Z. Perez, who was most recently Director General of the Foreign Service, direct and video tributes were paid to her for her long and distinguished service to the State Department and to the nation.

Ruth Davis, in addition to being a former director of FSI and Director-General of the Foreign Service and was the first African-American woman to achieve the rank of career ambassador. She was the first woman of color to be appointed Director General and the first African-American director of FSI. While heading FSI, she created the school of leadership and management, and throughout her long and distinguished career was at the forefront of creating an environment of diversity and inclusion in America’s diplomatic service.

A magna cum laude graduate and Merrill Scholar of Atlanta’s Spelman College, Davis studied abroad in Europe and the Middle East.

Davis joined the Foreign Service in 1969 and served first as a consular officer in Zaire. She then went on to do consular work in Kenya, Japan, and Italy. Among her other diplomatic assignments, she was principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, consul general in Barcelona, Spain, and ambassador in Benin.

Davis has been hailed as a ‘Diplomatic Pioneer,’ for her achievements and commitment to diversity in the ranks of the diplomatic corps and has continued to be active in promoting effective American diplomacy in her retirement as well, including serving as vice president and president pro tem of the Association of Black American Ambassadors, and as a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy, and the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs.

In 2016, Ruth A. Davis was presented the Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy Award by the American Foreign Service Association.

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