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Jendayi Frazer  

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (2005-2009) and Foreign Affairs Expert.

Jendayi E. Frazer is known worldwide as a leading expert on African Affairs specializing in the areas of international development and international and regional security. Over three decades of academic research, teaching and public service, she has worked on international development, regional security and governance in Africa. A popular public speaker, she has addressed diverse audiences including the 2006 Save Darfur rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Harvard University’s FORUM, Chatham House in London, Peking University in China, and numerous American Chambers of Commerce around the world. She is a frequent guest on television and radio programs, notably CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), and such shows as National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Tell Me More; the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer; Entertainment Tonight; Tavis Smiley and BBC’s Hard Talk. She is the author of several articles, book chapters and opinion essays.

Frazer continues her work in international affairs as a Distinguished Service Professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Social and Decision Sciences and the H. John Heinz College’s School of Public Policy and Management. Her current research focuses on strengthening regional security cooperation and economic and political integration in Africa. Frazer is also director of Carnegie Mellon’s Washington, D.C.-based Center for International Policy and Innovation (CIPI) where she works on utilizing technology to advance governance and promote economic development in Africa. She is particularly interested in applying innovative solutions to core issues of development such as expanding access to broadband, clean water, waste management and recycling in Africa.

Frazer was the leading architect of U.S.-Africa policy over nearly a decade, most recently serving as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from August 2005 – January 2009. She also served as the first woman U.S. Ambassador to South Africa from August 2004 – August 2005. She was special assistant to the President and senior director for African Affairs at the National Security Council from January 2001 until her swearing-in as Ambassador in June 2004.

As the top U.S. envoy for Africa she was known for her energetic, hands on diplomacy, making official visits to 41 of 48 sub-Saharan countries during her tenure in government service. She is the highest ranking U.S. official in 16 years to visit Somalia in 2007 and Somaliland in 2008. Frazer was instrumental in advancing priority diplomatic initiatives, including efforts surrounding the national reconciliation of Somalia, the resolution of the political dispute following Kenya’s 2007 presidential election, and the return to democracy in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She has been a vocal critic of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. In recognition of her contributions in advancing the United States foreign policy in Africa, Secretary Condoleezza Rice presented Frazer with the Distinguished Service Award in January 2009.

It is the highest award bestowed by the Secretary of State, who lauded Frazer for her “exemplary efforts to secure democracy and achieve peace and prosperity throughout Africa and her superb and energetic leadership of the Bureau of African Affairs.” As head of the State Department’s African Affairs Bureau, she oversaw an operating budget of $206 million, managed a domestic team of 200, and through the 44 Chiefs of Mission in Africa reporting to Frazer, she was responsible for over 14,000 U.S. and locally hired staff serving overseas. During Frazer’s government tenure, U.S. assistance to Africa quadrupled reaching an historic high of $6.7 billion by 2008.

As Ambassador, Frazer was the chief executive of the largest U.S. embassy in sub-Saharan Africa with a staff of over 850, and she directed $200 million in U.S. assistance to South Africa. She is known to have established excellent relations with senior South African decision-makers that led to unprecedented access and helped to expand U.S. assistance and programs in the areas of health, education, peacekeeping and nuclear and counterterrorism cooperation with the South African government. Frazer also drove the U.S. executive branch process that resulted in removing the three decades designation of Nelson Mandela and other senior African National Congress members as terrorists under U.S. immigration laws. She was a strong champion of American business seeking to raise U.S.-South Africa two-way trade beyond the $2.9 billion level in 2005 in recognition that South Africa is the primary destination of U.S. private investment in sub-Saharan Africa.

During her tenure at the National Security Council, Frazer was the lead adviser on Africa to the President and National Security Advisor. She was instrumental in the decisions that led to establishing the $15 billion President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the $500 million African Education Initiative, as well as the Millennium Challenge Account that committed $3.2 billion to well-governed African countries by 2008. Frazer is also widely credited for designing the administration’s policies for ending the wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Burundi. She was a strong advocate of debt cancellation and played a central role in the early and unprecedented level of engagement of the Bush Administration in Africa that has been widely noted, including by world leaders as Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and such celebrities as Bono and Bob Geldof.

Prior to entering government in 2001, Frazer was an Assistant Professor for Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University from 1995 - 2001. She took a leave of absence from Harvard from August 1998 – December 1999 when she was selected to the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations’ International Affairs Fellowship, serving first at the Pentagon as a Political-Military Planner with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then as director for African Affairs at the National Security Council. Her first academic professorship was Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver from 1993 – 1995. She also was editor of the journal Africa Today from 1993 – 1996 and sold the journal to Lynne Rienner Publishers after restructuring the Editorial Board and turning the journal into a profitable venture. As a Research Fellow at the Institute for Development Studies, she also lectured in the Government Department at the University of Nairobi in Kenya from 1989-1990.

Frazer graduated from Stanford University with B.A. in Political Science (honors) and African and Afro-American Studies (distinction), 1985, and obtained her M.A. degrees in International Policy Studies in 1985 and International Development Education in 1989 and a Ph.D. in Political Science, 1994, all from Stanford University.


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