Special Advisor for the Great Lakes Region of Africa: Who Is R. Barrie Walkley?
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on December 8, 2011, named veteran diplomat Reuben Barrie Walkley, who has served in seven African countries and been the principal U.S. representative to three of them, as Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, comprising Burundi, Rwanda, north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and north-western Kenya and Tanzania. The region has been torn apart by nearly continuous warfare for decades, including the Rwandan civil war and genocide of 1990 to 1994, The Second Congo War of 1998 to 2003, and the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency in Uganda, which has been ongoing since 1987.
Born in Preston, England, 1944, Walkley graduated from San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara, California, in 1962, and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1967. He soon left for Somalia, as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1967 to 1969. It was there that he met his future wife, fellow Peace Corps volunteer Annabelle Eaton. After returning home, Walkley decided to further his education, first earning an M.A. in African Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles, and then an M.A. and Ph.D. in English at the University of Southern California.
Walkley taught at the College of the Redwoods in northern California before joining the Foreign Service in 1982. His first overseas posting was as cultural affairs officer in Yaounde, Cameroon (1983-1986). Other early postings took him to Lahore, Pakistan, also as cultural affairs officer (1986-1988); Pretoria, South Africa, as embassy press spokesman (1988-1992); and London, UK. He also served in Washington, D.C., as a policy officer in the United States Information Agency’s Near Eastern Affairs Bureau. From 1992 to 1994, he was the Public Affairs Advisor for the Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, a period during which, in 1993, he was detailed to Mogadishu, Somalia, to serve as the United Nations Spokesman for Operation Restore Hope, which sought to create a safe environment for humanitarian operations in southern Somalia.
From 1993 to 1996, Walkley was a public affairs advisor at the State Department, and taught at the senior seminar in foreign policy in Washington D.C. He returned to Pakistan in 1998 and spent two years as public affairs officer.
Walkley served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, from 1998 to 2001. His first ambassadorship was to Guinea, where he served from October 2001 to February 2004, followed by service as Ambassador to Gabon from July 2004 to 2007, while accredited concurrently as Ambassador to São Tomé and Principe.
Although Walkley retired in 2007, he was called back into service to be Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at the embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius, with concurrent representation to the Seychelles, from November 2009 to February 2010. In January 2011, Walkley returned again, this time to serve as Consul-General in Juba, South Sudan, and then, after South Sudan’s independence day of July 9, 2011, as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim until December 6, 2011, when newly-confirmed Ambassador Susan D. Page arrived in Juba.
Walkley and his wife, Annabelle, have two children, Jolyon and Brett.
U.S. Names Great Lakes Special Envoy R. Barrie Walkley (Enough Project)
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