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Wanda L. Nesbitt (1956-- )

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Wanda L. Nesbitt holds the rank of Career Minister in the U.S. Foreign Service.  She joined the United States Foreign Service in 1981. She was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar by President George W. Bush and served in that capacity from 2001 to 2004.  President Bush appointed her ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire where she served from 2007 to 2010.  In 2010 President Barack Obama appointed her ambassador to Namibia.   

Her previous Consular assignments included Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (1982-1983); Paris, France (1983-1985); Kigali, Rwanda (1997-1999), and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (1999-2001).

As the U.S. envoy in Madagascar, she promoted policies for environmental protection, reducing poverty, and more effective governance.  She signed an “Open Skies” Aviation Agreement between the United States and Madagascar in 2004 which also improve trade and investments, opened commercial airline routes, and provided boats for costal surveillance.

As Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire, she collaborated with Ivoirian leaders to improve child labor and orphan care policies and cocoa and coffee trade issues. She also wrote prerequisites for electoral reform.

During her three years in Namibia, she coordinated President Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).  In addition, she led a US delegation for World AIDS Day, oversaw an increase in local Peace Corps volunteers and expanded the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) which provided funding for a Community Skills Development Center, a Regional Study and Resource Center, a State Veterinary Office and the upgrading of three schools with computers, libraries and solar panels for electricity.

Nesbitt also served in other capacities in Washington, D.C. including Chief of the Europe and African Division of Citizens Emergency Center (1992-93) and the Bureau of Legislative Affairs (1994-96). At the United States Department of State, she was the Director of the Senior Level Assignments Division in the Bureau of Human Resources Career Development and Assignments Division (2005-2005). She coordinated assignments and acted as the Executive Secretariat for the Chief of Mission Officer Selection committees. She was also a member of the Department of State’s Performance Review Board for Senior Executive Service members and Officer in Charge of Immigration and Refugee Issues (1995-1997).

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania in International Relations and French, she later received her Master’s Degree in national security strategies at the National Defense University (NDU) or War College in Washington, D.C. Before her graduation in 1997 she received an award from the College for her paper “Military Strategies in Ethnic Conflicts.” Later she was the interim president of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.   Nesbitt is the recipient of four Superior Honor Awards and two Presidential awards for outstanding performance.

Nesbitt was born on December 7, 1956, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is married to James Stejskal, a decorated Special Forces veteran and military historian. Her mother worked also at the Foreign Service Institute from 1948 to 1964.

Noel Brinkerhoff, “Ambassador to Namibia: Who is Wanda Nesbitt?”, July 10, 2011; Wanda L. Nesbitt, “Jonas Savimbi and UNITA’s Struggle for Independence in Angola,” National War College, Washington, D.C, 1997, U.S. Department of State Archive, Jan. 20, 2001 to 2009,; “U.S. Ambassador Reacts to Editorial Opinion” Africa News Service, Feb. 3, 2012, “U.S. Ambassador to Cote D’Ivoire,” State Magazine, Dec. 2, 2007; “U.S. Signs Open Skies Agreement with Madagascar,” Africa News Service, March 12, 2004.


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