Donald E. Booth previously served as U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan from August 2013 until January 2017. As Special Envoy, Ambassador Booth convinced South Sudan’s warring parties to participate in regionally mediated negotiations that resulted in the August 2015 peace agreement and a year-long lull in that country’s self-destructive conflict. His engagement with Sudan achieved a unilateral cessation of hostilities in Darfur and the “Two Areas,” an expansion of humanitarian assistance access and cooperation on counter-terrorism and regional security threats. These achievements led to the lifting of decades-old U.S. sanctions on Sudan. He has been a featured speaker on Sudan and South Sudan at the Atlantic Council, Chatham House, and the U.S. Institute for Peace.
Prior to his appointment as Special Envoy, Ambassador Booth served as United States Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, where he facilitated an expansion of regional security cooperation, improved access for U.S. businesses, and created a regular dialogue on controversial issues of democratic governance and human rights. He served as Ambassador to the Republic of Zambia from 2008-2010, where he focused on restraining the HIV/AIDS epidemic, expanding press freedom, and fighting corruption. As Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia from 2005-2008, a key period in that country’s transition from civil war to peace, he played a crucial role in ensuring the transitional government yielded power following democratic elections in 2005, secured Liberian agreement to an intrusive anti-corruption program – the Governance and Economic Management Assistance Program or GEMAP – and guided U.S. assistance in building the Liberian army from scratch and resurrecting critical infrastructure in the power, education and transportation areas.
Ambassador Booth has held several leadership positions in the U.S. State Department, including Director of the Office of Technical and Specialized Agencies in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (2002-05) where he implemented the United States’ re-joining of UNESCO, Director of the Office of West African Affairs (2000-02) and Deputy Director of the Office of Southern African Affairs (1998-2000). As a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service, he served as Counselor for Economic Affairs in Athens, Greece and as Division Chief for Developed Country Bilateral Trade Affairs in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. Early in his career, he served as a desk officer in the Office of Egyptian Affairs and the Office of East African Affairs dealing with Sudan and Uganda. Ambassador Booth also served at the U.S. Embassies in Romania (during the 1989 revolution), Belgium, Liberia (detailed to the Foreign Commercial Service), and Gabon.
Since retiring from the Foreign Service in January 2017, Ambassador Booth is engaged in providing consultative services in international relations to the Carter Center and lectures periodically to university classes. He volunteers regularly with Habitat for Humanity and enjoys travel at home and abroad.
Ambassador Booth earned a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, a master’s degree in Business Administration from Boston University and a master’s degree in National Security Studies from the National War College where he was a “Distinguished Graduate.” He is the recipient of numerous State Department Superior Honor Awards, as well as the Herbert Salzman Award for Economic Excellence, and the Presidential Distinguished Service Award. He is a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy. He speaks French.