REPORT FOR THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
SUBJECT: Ambassadorial Nomination: Certificate of Demonstrated Competence — Foreign Service Act, Section 304(a)(4)
POST: Federal Republic of Nigeria
CANDIDATE: Mary Beth Leonard
Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor. She has served since 2016 as the U.S. Ambassador to the African Union. Prior to that, Ambassador Leonard was the U.S. Department of State Faculty Advisor at the U.S. Naval War College, Rhode Island (2015-2016) and U.S. Ambassador to Mali (2011-2014). She also held senior leadership positions as Deputy Chief of Mission to Mali (2006-2009), and Director of the Office of West African Affairs (2009-2011). Ambassador Leonard’s deep understanding of the region coupled with her extensive leadership experience make her an excellent choice to serve as Ambassador to Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Previously, Ambassador Leonard served as the Department’s Diplomat in Residence, Tufts University (2014-2015), Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Paramaribo, Suriname (2004-2006), and as Deputy Principal Officer, U.S. Consulate General Cape Town, South Africa (1999-2003). She worked as Regional Desk Officer, Office of Southern African Affairs (1998), Economic and Commercial Officer, U.S. Embassy Lomé, Togo (1996-1998), and Desk Officer for Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea (1994-1995) and Zaire (1995-1996 ), Office of Central African Affairs. Earlier assignments included as a Watch Officer, Operations Center, and Consular and Economic Officer at the U.S. embassies in Namibia and Cameroon.
Ambassador Leonard earned a B.A. from Boston University, Magna Cum Laude (1984), a M.A. with a concentration in African studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (1998), and a M.A. with distinction from the U.S. Naval War College (2004). Her numerous Department of State awards include the 2013 Diplomacy for Human Rights Award. Her languages are French, Spanish, Afrikaans, and Dutch.