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Pamela E. Bridgewater

Pamela E. Bridgewater

Pamela E. Bridgewater (born April 14, 1947) is a United States career diplomat, most recently posted as the U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica.[1][2]

Pamela E. Bridgewater
United States Ambassador to Jamaica
In office
December 1, 2010  November 25, 2013
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded bySue McCourt Cobb
Succeeded byLuis G. Moreno
United States Ambassador to Ghana
In office
June 21, 2005  June 10, 2008
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byMary Carlin Yates
Succeeded byDonald G. Teitelbaum
United States Ambassador to Benin
In office
September 15, 2000  December 10, 2002
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byRobert C. Felder
Succeeded byWayne E. Neill
Personal details
Born (1947-04-14) April 14, 1947
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Alma materVirginia State University;
University of Cincinnati
OccupationAmbassador, professor


Bridgewater was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the daughter of a bank teller and a jazz trumpeter,[3] and attended Walker-Grant High School.[4] She has two degrees in Political Science, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree from Virginia State University in 1968, and with a master of arts degree from the University of Cincinnati.[5] Her career was initially in teaching, working at Maryland universities Morgan State and Bowie State, and Voorhees College in South Carolina, before entering the U.S. Foreign Service in 1980.

Between 1980 and 1990 she was posted as Vice-Consul to Brussels, and Labor Attaché/Political Officer in Kingston, Jamaica.[5][6] At the Department of State, Bridgewater was the longest-serving diplomat in South Africa,[1] posted as Political Officer at Pretoria from 1990 to 1993, and as the first African-American woman appointed Consul General at Durban, from 1993 to 1996.[1][3][6] Here she worked with Nelson Mandela during the transition of South Africa away from apartheid.[6]

From 1996 to 1999 she was Deputy Chief of Mission in Nassau, Bahamas. Bridgewater was a member and president of the 42nd Senior Seminar, the U.S. Department of State's most prestigious professional development program, from 1999 to 2000, before serving as United States Ambassador to Benin from October 2000 to January 2003.[5] Subsequently, she was appointed U.S. deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs in December 2002, where she managed the State Department's Bureau of African Affairs' relationships with 16 countries in West Africa.[5][6]

She served as Diplomat-in-Residence at Howard University in Washington, D.C., from September 2004 to May 2005. From June 2005 to July 2008 Bridgewater was the United States Ambassador to Ghana.

She is married to the Rev Dr A Russell Awkard, pastor of the New Zion Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky.


  • Department of State Superior Honor Awards (3)[1]
  • Presidential Meritorious Service Award[1]
  • Honorary doctorate of laws from Virginia State University in 1997
  • National Order of Benin in 2002
  • Charles E. Cobb Jr. Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development in 2002
  • Dominion Resources Strong Leaders Award 2004[6]
  • Honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Cincinnati in 2006[1]
  • Honorary doctorate from the University of Mary Washington in 2015


  1. "U.S. Ambassador Pamela E. Bridgewater to Address December Graduates at the University of Cincinnati". University of Cincinnati. 8 November 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  2. "Asantehene commends Pamela Bridgewater". GBC NEWS. 2 July 2008. Archived from the original on August 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  3. Williams, Michael Paul (21 February 2005). "PROFILE: Pamela Bridgewater". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  4. Delano, Frank (August 29, 2007). "The go-to American in Ghana". The Free Lance-Star.
  5. "Biography - Ambassador, Benin". U.S. State Department. March 14, 2002. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  6. "Excellence in Leadership - 2004 Honoree". Dominion Resources, Inc. 2004. Archived from the original on 2008-06-21. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
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