This biography is no longer current; no other official Department of State biography is available.
Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates was the interim Charge d'Affaires to Sudan. Appointed by President Obama, she began her term on September 1, 2011.
Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, a senior U.S. diplomat from the Department of State, recently served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council of the White House.
She joined the National Security Council as Senior Advisor for Strategic Planning and Special Assistant to the President in June, 2009. She comes to the NSC directly from serving as Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Activities (DCMA) of United States Africa Command, October 2007 – May 2009. Among U.S. geographic commands, the Africa Command was the first to have two co-equal 3-star level deputies -- a civilian deputy (DCMA) and a military deputy (DCMO).
As U.S. Africa Command’s DCMA, Ambassador Yates supervised the command’s directorates for Plans, Programs and Strategy, and Outreach which included, Strategic Communication and Partnership initiatives assuring that policy development and implementation were consistent with U.S. Foreign Policy. She was awarded the Department of Defense highest civilian honor for this service.
From September 2005 through September 2007, Ambassador Yates served as Foreign Policy Advisor (POLAD) to the United States European Command (EUCOM). European Command’s Area of Responsibility encompasses 92 countries in Europe, Eurasia, Africa, and the Middle East. In her capacity as POLAD, Ambassador Yates ensured U.S. foreign policy was coordinated with the Commander’s theater security policies and regional strategy objectives and provided “reach-back” between the Command and the Department of State, National Security Council, and the numerous U.S. Embassies throughout the AOR. She was awarded the Department of Defense’s second highest civilian honor, the Joint Meritorious Civilian Service Award, for this outstanding service.
Ambassador Yates is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister Counselor, who began her diplomatic career in 1980. She served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Ghana from 2002 until 2005 and was recognized with Presidential Performance Award for Excellence in 2004. While Ambassador to the Republic of Burundi from 1999 until 2002, she worked extensively to bring peace and stability through the Burundian Peace Process in Arusha, led by former South African President Nelson Mandela. She also serviced in Kinshasa, Zaire (DRCongo) as political officer and then public affairs counselor from 1991-95 occurred during the genocide in neighboring Rwanda.
Her other assignments included U.S. Embassy, Paris from 1995-99 as press attache and then as senior cultural attache; Office Director in the Bureau of Public Affairs of the East Asia and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State; assistant information officer and spokesperson for the U.S./Philippine Military Bases Talks in Manila, and as branch public affairs officer in Kwangju, Korea. She has earned a the prestigious Lois Roth Award for Cultural Diplomacy, Sustained Superior Honor Awards, and two Meritorious Honor Awards.
A native of Portland, Oregon, Ambassador Yates earned her BA in English from Oregon State University and a master's in Comparative East-West Humanities from New York University (NYU), where she advanced to candidacy for the doctor of philosophy degree in Asian Studies. She was awarded an honorary doctorate of English from her alma mater Oregon State University in June 2007. Her languages are French and Korean.