Ambassador Brenda Brown Schoonover is a career Foreign Service Officer with the United States Department of State, has recently returned from Lome, Togo, where she served for two and a half years as the American Ambassador. She is currently on detail to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, as a Diplomat in Residence for the academic year.

During her 22 years as a Foreign Service Officer, she has held a variety of administrative positions in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and in the Bureau of Near East and South Asian Affairs. From 1988 to 1991, she was the Chief of Personnel for the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs. From 1992-1996 she was Administrative Officer/Deputy Director for the Office of Joint Administrative Services in the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, Belgium. She is an alumnus of the Senior Seminar (the 39th class, 1996-97), the State Department’s most advanced professional development program for senior foreign policy and national security officers of the United States Government, and an alumnus of the National Defense University’s Capstone Summer 1997 Program, which is given to military flag officers and a select few of civilians of equivalent rank.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, after completing her undergraduate studies at Morgan State University, Ms Schoonover began her overseas service as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines. As one of the first volunteers to join the Peace Corps at its inception, she is considered a Charter Member of the Peace Corps.

She was one of ten Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who participated in the Cardozo High School Urban Teaching Program, a combination of developing inner city curriculum and doing graduate studies at Howard University in Washington, DC. Later she worked on the Peace Corps staff in the Office of Talent Search, then as Associate Director of the Peace Corps in Tanzania, followed by an appointment as Director of the agency’s School Partnership Program. In the mid seventies, Ambassador Schoonover worked for the Government of Arlington County, Virginia, for two years as the county’s Affirmative Action Officer.

The Ambassador speaks French. She is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Zonta International. She is married to Richard C. Schoonover, a former Foreign Service Officer now retired from the United States Information Agency.


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