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Diplomacy in Action

Black History Month 2012: Brandi James


Brandi James joined the Foreign Service in September 2006 as part of the 131st A-100 class. She served at consulate Lagos and Embassy Paris as a consular officer before her current assignment as a Somalia watcher based in Embassy Nairobi. Some of her professional highlights include serving as an election observer in one of the most volatile states of Nigeria during the 2007 presidential and gubernatorial elections, for which she received a group meritorious honor award; received a Franklin Award for her organization of Embassy Paris' Consular Leadership Day in 2010; supported Secretary Clinton’s 2010 visit to Embassy Paris for which she again received a group meritorious honor award; and served a five-week TDY at Embassy N’Djamena where she helped reopen the consular section after an Embassy evacuation due to rebel activity. As the Somalia Unit's political officer, she is one of few USG employees to have traveled to Somalia in recent years. Her November 2011 visit to Garowe, Puntland, along with the U.S. Special Representative for Somalia, to meet with the semi-autonomous regional administration was the first State Department visit to the region in five years, truly embodying "expeditionary diplomacy."

In her spare time, Brandi practiced Bikram Yoga in Paris and trained for her first marathon in Nairobi. In October 2011, she completed the Nairobi Standard Charter Bank Marathon, running alongside several professional Kenyan marathoners. Her plans for 2012 include running a half-marathon in one of Kenyan's many scenic national game parks, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in neighboring Tanzania (the highest mountain in Africa), and bidding for her next assignment during the 2012 summer cycle. She is active in her embassy communities, having participated on Employment Hiring Committees, EER panels, and Awards Committees. While at Embassy Paris, she served as the chair of the Federal Women’s Program, and she is the current chair of Embassy Nairobi’s American Employees Association which has over 280 direct hire members.

Brandi James hails from Augusta, Georgia and is a proud alumna of Howard and Columbia Universities.

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