Telephonic Press Briefing: Ambassadors Michael Raynor and Mary Beth Leonard on Secretary Tillerson's Visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Africa Regional Media Hub
United States Department of State
March 8, 2018
Telephonic Press Briefing: Ambassadors Michael Raynor and Mary Beth Leonard on Secretary Tillerson’s Visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
On March 6, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson embarked on his first official visit to Africa, beginning with a stop in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia. Please join us on Friday, March 9 at 07:00GMT/09:00SAST/10:00EAT for a telephonic press briefing with the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Michael Raynor and U.S. Ambassador to the African Union Mary Beth Leonard, who will provide an overview of the activities and key issues that the Secretary addressed during his stay in Ethiopia.
As previewed in the March 1 Media Advisory, Secretary Rex Tillerson will travel to N’Djamena, Chad; Djibouti, Djibouti; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Nairobi, Kenya; and Abuja, Nigeria, March 6-13, 2018.
Secretary Tillerson will meet with leadership in each country, as well as the leadership of the African Union Commission based in Addis Ababa, to further our partnerships with the governments and people of Africa. In particular, he plans to discuss ways we can work with our partners to counter terrorism, advance peace and security, promote good governance, and spur mutually beneficial trade and investment.
During his trip, he will also meet with U.S. Embassy personnel and participate in events related to U.S. government-supported activities.
U.S. Ambassador to the African Union Mary Beth Leonard
Date: Friday, March 09, 2018
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Language: English. French interpretation will be offered.
Ground rules: On the record.
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Ambassador Michael Raynor
Mike Raynor joined the State Department in 1988, and is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor. He has been Director of the Bureau of Human Resources’ Office of Career Development and Assignments since September 2016. From August 2015 to August 2016, he served as Assistant Chief of Mission in Kabul, with responsibility for the embassy’s foreign assistance, counter-narcotics, and law enforcement portfolios as well as its consular, management, and security functions. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Benin from 2012 to 2015. From 2010 to 2012, he served as Executive Director of the Bureau of African Affairs, following two years as the Deputy Executive Director.
He has spent much of his career in Africa, including as management officer in Harare, Windhoek, Conakry, and Djibouti, and as General Services Officer in Brazzaville. He also served as Zimbabwe desk officer in the Bureau of African Affairs, Special Assistant and Legislative Management Officer in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, and Consular Officer in Luxembourg. His State Department awards include the 2008 Leamon R. Hunt Award for Management Excellence, several Senior Foreign Service Performance awards, and numerous Superior and Meritorious Honor awards. He has a B.A. in International Affairs from Lafayette College and a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University. He is married with two children.
Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard
Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard was appointed by President Obama as the Representative of the United States of America to the African Union, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, on July 5, 2016. She serves as U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). She was previously the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Mali from 2011-2014.
Most recently, she served as the State Department’s Senior Faculty Advisor at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, following a year as the Department’s Diplomat in Residence for New England, based at Tufts University. Her service in Mali was recognized with the Department’s Diplomacy for Human Rights Award in 2013, an honor that annually recognizes a U.S. Chief of Mission who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to defending human rights and advancing democratic principles in his or her host country. Ambassador Leonard was the Director for West African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State from 2009-2011, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Bamako, Mali from 2006-2009.
After joining the State Department in 1988, Ambassador Leonard served overseas as an economic and consular officer in Yaoundé, Cameroon; Windhoek, Namibia; and Lomé, Togo. She also worked in the Department’s Operations Center and in its Office of Central African Affairs. She then served as political and economic officer in Cape Town, South Africa and thereafter as Deputy Chief of Mission in Paramaribo, Suriname.
Ambassador Leonard, a native of Massachusetts, graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Boston University, with a major in economics and a minor in French. In 1988, she earned a master’s degree in international relations, with an emphasis on African studies, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. In 2004, she received a Master’s of Security and Strategic studies the U.S. Naval War College, with distinction. She speaks French, Spanish, Afrikaans, and Dutch.