Ambassador to The Gambia: Who is Pamela White?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Pamela Ann White is no stranger to Africa. The new ambassador to Gambia has more than 35 years of experience on the continent, most of it with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She was confirmed as ambassador by the Senate on September 29, 2010, and presented her credentials in The Gambia November 29.
The daughter of Richard and Muriel Murphy, White was born in 1948 in Lewiston, Maine. White grew up in Auburn, where she graduated from Edward Little High School in 1967. She studied at the University of Maine at Orono, receiving her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1971. Later, she attended the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont, where she earned a master’s degree in international development. She also is a 1999 graduate of the international development program at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, DC.
She began her public service as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in Cameroon (1971-1973). White joined USAID in 1978 after several years of work in education and research.
At USAID she served as: community liaison officer in Burkina Faso, deputy director executive officer in Senegal and Haiti and executive officer in Haitian, Egyptian and South African missions. As deputy director for East Africa in Washington, DC, she coordinated the delivery of food to Ethiopia and Eritrea, helped to develop a six-year Ugandan strategy and oversaw the expansion of programs in Sudan and Congo.
In Mali, White worked as deputy and mission director for USAID from 2001 to 2005.
After that she was appointed mission director in Tanzania, where she managed a $130 million aid program focused on HIV/AIDs prevention, malaria control, primary education, conservation of natural resources and control of corruption. She oversaw the start of major health initiatives, including the President’s Malaria Initiative, and helped the country receive one of the largest Millennium Challenge Corporation grants.
Beginning in September 2008, she served as mission director for USAID in Liberia, where she managed the agency’s second largest development budget in Africa, averaging more than $200 million a year.
White and her husband, Steven Cowper, have two sons. Cowper is also a member of the Foreign Service and has served with USAID.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Official Biography (State Department)
Auburn Native Named U.S. Ambassador to Gambia (by Maxwell Morgensen, Lewiston Sun Journal)


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