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Peter Pham, Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region

Dr. J. Peter Pham was appointed the first-ever United States Special Envoy for the Sahel Region of Africa on March 1, 2020. The President accorded him the personal rank of Ambassador on September 29, 2020.

Ambassador Pham is responsible for coordinating America’s engagement with international and regional partners, including the G5 Sahel and ECOWAS member states, to address the threat from Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs) and prevent the VEO threat from impacting additional areas, as well as supporting the implementation of the Algiers Accord and regional efforts to stabilize the tri-border region of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

Ambassador Pham previously served from 2018 to 2020 as U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Prior to his appointment to the State Department, Dr. Pham was Vice President and Director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council. He was previously Senior Vice President of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, and Editor of its bimonthly journal, American Foreign Policy Interests. He was also a tenured Associate Professor of justice studies, political science, and Africana studies at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he was also Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Dr. Pham is the author of more than 300 essays and reviews and the author, editor, or translator of over a dozen books, primarily on African history, politics, and economics.

From 2008 to 2017, Dr. Pham was Vice President of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA), an academic organization which represents more than 1,300 scholars of Middle Eastern and African Studies at more than 300 colleges and universities in the United States and overseas. In 2015, the Regents of the Smithsonian Institution elected Dr. Pham to the Board of the National Museum of African Art, of which he is presently Vice-Chair.

Dr. Pham holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Chicago and a doctorate from the Gregorian University, as well as postgraduate degrees in history, law, international relations, and theology.

U.S. Department of State

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