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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Electronic Information and Publications Office > Biographies > Biographies Listed Alphabetically by Last Name
Picture of Ruth A. DavisBIOGRAPHY

Ruth A. Davis
Special Adviser, 
Term of Appointment: 02/01/2005 to present

Ruth A. Davis is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Career Ambassador (May 1, 2002). She is presently serving as Special Adviser and Chief of Staff in the Africa Bureau of the Department of State, after completing an assignment as Distinguished Advisor for International Affairs at Howard University in Washington (July, 2003 to Sept., 2005). Previously, she served as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources from June 1, 2001 to June 30, 2003.

Before assuming the position of Director General, Ambassador Davis was Director of the Foreign Service Institute from July 1977 to June 2001. Prior to this assignment, she was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs (December 1995 – July 1997). Previous to joining the Bureau of Consular Affairs, she was Ambassador to the Republic of Benin (December 1992 – November 1995). Following her assignment as Consul General in Barcelona, Spain, (1987-1991), Ambassador Davis was a member of the 34th Class of the Senior Seminar (1991-1992) which was the highest level of executive training offered by the US Government.

Ambassador Davis joined the Foreign Service in 1969 and was assigned as Consular Officer in Kinshasa, Zaire (1969-1971). Specializing in consular affairs, she also served in Nairobi, Kenya (1971-1973), Tokyo, Japan (1973-1976) and Naples, Italy (1976-1980). She returned to the United States as a Pearson Fellow working as Special Advisor for International Affairs for the Washington, DC Municipal Government. While advising the DC Government, she directed the City’s Sister City Program and its International Task Force. She was credited with substantially improving the city’s involvement in the international, economic, cultural, and diplomatic arenas.

Ambassador Davis’ previous assignments in the Department of State include Senior Watch Officer in the Operations Center (1982-1984) and Chief of Training and Liaison in the Bureau of Personnel.

Born May 28, 1943 in Phoenix, Arizona, Ambassador Davis received her Bachelor’s Degree Magna Cum Laude (Sociology) in 1966 from Spelman College in Atlanta. While enrolled in Spelman, she spent 15 months as a Merrill Scholar studying and traveling in Europe and the Middle East. She earned a Master’s degree from the School of Social Work, University of California at Berkeley. Before joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador served as an intern in the Population Division of the Agency for International Development and as a research assistant at the University of California at Berkeley.

Ambassador Davis is credited with playing a significant role in the organization of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games and in Atlanta’s successful bid for those of 1996. She drafted a study entitled "Transferring Knowledge and Experience from the Barcelona Olympic Organizing Committee to the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games." She speaks French and Spanish, and is an avid opera fan.

Former President Clinton approved the Department’s nomination of Ambassador Davis for a Presidential Distinguished Service Award in September 1999 and President Bush did the same in 2002. She was the 1999 winner of the State Department’s Arnold L. Raphel Memorial Award for mentoring and developing the people around her, especially junior officers She was also the recipient of the Department of State’s Superior Honor Award, and was granted an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree by her alma mater, Spelman College in 1998 and an Honorary Doctor of laws Degree by Middlebury College in 2000. In June 2003, she was awarded The Secretary’s Distinguished Award by Secretary Colin Powell and she was the 2005 winner of the Department of State’s Equal Employment Opportunity Award.

Ambassador Davis is the former President of the Thursday Luncheon Group, a foreign policy group which monitors the recruitment, assignments, employment practices, promotion patterns, training and other personnel matters of vital interest to minorities in the principal foreign affairs agencies.

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Released on October 26, 2006

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