Page reflects on representing America abroad

September 1, 2020

Ford School professor of practice Ambassador Susan Page served in the Foreign Service in Kenya, Botswana, and Rwanda, and was the first U.S. ambassador to South Sudan. In a recent article in The Atlantic, she reflected that her long career abroad was driven in part by the fact that she felt more American when outside the United States. That article, which is a preview of an upcoming book on the topic of Black representation in the diplomatic corps, says Page’s experience reflects that of many of her peers. “For some Black diplomats, and in particular Black female diplomats traveling outside the U.S. and representing America to the rest of the world was the first time they felt they were treated like Americans,” it says.

Of 189 current U.S. ambassadors, only three are Black and all are men.

Page said that “being Black and a woman — and the face of America before a fledgling country (in South Sudan) — held enormous significance. She recounted stories of women she met who left their homes to attend college and postgraduate programs in the U.S. before returning to South Sudan ‘to have a profound impact on their country.’

You can read the article here.