Last month, Ambassador Nancy Powell (BA ’70 history-teaching) received the 2017 Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy Award from the American Foreign Service Association. The award honors those who have made extraordinary contributions to diplomacy and the diplomatic profession.
The five-time ambassador says experiences inside and outside the classroom paved the way to a successful career.
“UNI provided a very good grounding. My major in history along with many classes in political science was a boost to my State Department career and to a life-long interest in the rest of the world.”
The university’s response to events in the spring of 1968, including the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., made a lasting impression on Nancy.
“Dr. Robert Ross led a group of students who examined the situation in the Cedar Falls-Waterloo area and came up with programs to assist minority students, both at the university and in the communities. I tutored elementary students in Waterloo. At the same time, I was assisting in an eighth grade class at the Lab School and helped to design a new unit on African-American history. It was a good lesson in how to approach a social problem and do something to ameliorate it.”
Nancy retired from the U.S. Department of State in 2014. The past three summers she has helped train new ambassadors, most recently completing an ambassadorial seminar that included former Iowa Governor, now Ambassador, Terry Branstad. During her 37.5 years in the Foreign Service, she served at posts in Canada, Nepal (twice), Pakistan (twice), Togo, India (twice), Bangladesh, Uganda and Ghana. Nancy also headed the State Department’s human resources office.
Nancy Powell. #PurpleForLife