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Ambassador Wanda Nesbitt

Ambassador Nesbitt retired from the Department of State in December 2019 with the rank of Career Minister following 38 years of service. She was also Senior Vice President of the National Defense University from November 2013 to July 2016. Her last State Department assignment was Dean of the School of Language Studies, where she oversaw the delivery of training in 60 languages to over 2,000 foreign affairs professionals annually. She continues to contribute in her retirement, evaluating applicants for the State Department’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth program.

Amb. Nesbitt served as U.S. ambassador to three countries: Namibia, Côte d'Ivoire and Madagascar. She was widely recognized during her Foreign Service career for her commitment to fairness, promoting democratic principles and good governance. At the National Defense University, Amb. Nesbitt inspired the creation of a talent management system to replace an antiquated model. The new system was enthusiastically adopted. As the leadership liaison for the employee affinity group Executive Women at State, she was a mentor and role model for dozens of aspiring women.

Amb. Nesbitt holds a bachelor’s degree in French and International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College. She is the recipient of several awards, including three Presidential Awards for Meritorious Service and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award.