Ambassador to Panama: Who is Phyllis Powers?

Sunday, May 01, 2011
Phyllis M. Powers has come a long way from her days as a medical technologist in the 1970s. Powers was nominated by President Barack Obama in July 2010 to become ambassador to Panama. She was confirmed by the Senate on August 8.
 
A native of Utica, New York, Powers graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and became certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathology as a medical technologist. 
 
She began her career as a medical technologist at Alexandria Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia.
 
In 1978, she joined the Foreign Service and embarked on a career as a diplomat. Her early assignments took her to Jordan, Russia and Poland.
 
In Washington, DC, Powers served as deputy director of the Office of Travel Support in the Bureau of Administration, and as senior post management officer for the Bureau of Near East Asia and South Asia, with oversight responsibility for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Persian Gulf countries.
 
She then went to Colombia for seven years, serving as a management counselor in the U.S. embassy and later as the director of the Narcotics Affairs Section responsible for the counter-narcotics program known as Plan Colombia. 
 
From 2005 to June 2007, Powers was deputy chief of mission of the U.S. embassy in Lima, Peru.
 
Before posting to Panama, she served as the director of the Office of Provincial Affairs at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Official Biography (State Department)

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