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Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy

The Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy initiative will launch at U.S. Department of State in the Harry S. Truman Building in Washington, D.C. on Friday, September 13, 2019. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will kick-off the event, and the Director of the Foreign Service Institute Ambassador Daniel B. Smith will serve as Master of Ceremonies. The inaugural event features the first “Hero” Elizabeth “Lizzie” Slater in conversation with Director General Ambassador Carol Z. Perez. Lizzie will discuss her actions following the embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi in 1998 as she helped re-build the communications systems for both embassies, as well as the professional values she modeled throughout her career. Read more below.

The Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy initiative will run through 2020.  This initiative highlights the stories of modern-day “Heroes Among Us,” alongside heroic figures from our Department’s rich history.  These individuals displayed sound policy judgment, as well as intellectual, moral and/or physical courage while advancing the Department of State’s mission, thereby elevating U.S. diplomacy.

For updates and continual coverage, visit www.state.gov/HeroesofUSDiplomacy/ and follow the hashtag #HeroesofUSDiplomacy on social media. For general inquiries, please send your message to HeroesOfDiplomacy@state.gov.

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Elizabeth “Lizzie” Slater

Information Management Officer

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Slater is a Foreign Service Specialist and incoming Dean of the School of Applied Information Technology at the Foreign Service Institute. Ms. Slater has worked at the State Department in a variety of capacities: first as a Locally Employed Staff member in 1980, then as an Eligible Family Member, as a Foreign Service Secretary, and finally as a Foreign Service IT Specialist in 1998. Her career has taken her to Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Mauritius, Washington, Thailand, Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia, and Egypt. For her first tour, Ms. Slater was deployed to Dar es Salaam on August 6, 1998. On her second day, the U.S. Embassy was bombed as part of the 1998 terrorist attacks in Tanzania and Kenya. When the blast went off, Ms. Slater was in a colleague’s office in the front part of the embassy building, a mere 50 feet from the detonation. Despite being injured in the bombing, Ms. Slater stayed on to reconstruct an operating embassy and its communication systems, to ensure that the post had communications back to Washington. Soon after, she transferred to the other bombsite at U.S. Embassy Nairobi to do the same work there. Ms. Slater’s service and actions in the face of adversity and during this defining moment in diplomatic history show her as a true champion and Hero of U.S. Diplomacy.

Learn more about Lizzie’s story and the U.S. Embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya: 

  • Foreign Service Journal July/August 2019 article 
  • C-SPAN segment  on the U.S. Diplomacy Center’s East Africa Bombings exhibit

U.S. Department of State

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