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Name: Bridgewater, Pamela
Current Position: Previous Ambassador

Pamela E. Bridgewater was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica on October 26, 2010.

Bridgewater was born on April 14, 1947, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The daughter of a jazz trumpeter and a bank teller, she attended Walker-Grant High School and Virginia State University, where she earned a B.A. degree in political science in 1968. She received her M.A., also in political science, from the University of Cincinnati, and completed advanced candidacy for a PhD from the American University School of International Service.
Bridgewater entered a career in teaching, holding instructor positions at Bowie State University and Morgan State University in Maryland, and at Voorhees College in South Carolina.

In 1980, Bridgewater joined the Foreign Service, working for the U.S. Department of State in the Bureaus of European Affairs, Oceans and Environmental Affairs, and Intelligence and Research.
From 1980 to 1990, Bridgewater served as vice-consul and general services officer in Brussels, and Labor Attaché Political Officer in Kingston, Jamaica. In 1990, she became the first African-American woman to serve as consul general in Pretoria, South Africa, and from 1993 to 1996 in Durban. In this post, Bridgewater was the political officer assigned to work with Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress during the period that led to the end of apartheid.
In 1996, she was appointed deputy chief of mission to Nassau, Bahamas. Between 1999 and 2000, she became president of the 42nd Senior Seminar, the State Department’s professional development program.
From October 2000 through 2002, Bridgewater served as U.S. Ambassador to Benin. In December 2002 she was appointed U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of African Affairs, in charge of managing the bureau’s relations with 16 West African countries.
Bridgewater was subsequently appointed as Special Coordinator for Peace in Liberia. Leading the U.S. delegation to the Liberian Peace Talks during the nation’s civil war, she worked to bring about a peace agreement that included terms for democratic election and reconstruction.
From September 2004 to May 2005, Bridgewater was diplomat-in-residence at Howard University. In June 2005, she became the first African-American woman to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, a post she held until July 2008. She then took the position of senior inspector at the Office of the Inspector General.
In February 2010 Bridgewater married the Reverend A. Russell Awkard of Louisville, Kentucky. The two had dated 40 years earlier and reestablished contact in 2008.
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